Seafarers suffer from holiday sicknessBy Susan K
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When the month of December comes, numerous seafarers ask for leave, saying they have a relative who has died. Captain Ronaldo Enrile, vice president for operations of Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC).
PTC is now requesting seafarers to present death certificates and other supporting documents to prove that their leave request is not just an alibi for a holiday leave.
Another thing shipping executives note is that seafarers are suddenly difficult to call during the holiday season. In other months, seafarers anticipate their calls to board. “Of course, that is the most significant message for our seafarers, especially for those who are first timers,” he said.
Rear Admiral Adonis Donato, president of OSM Maritime Services also observed that the boarding schedule excitement does not seem to apply in the month of December.
If they are already on vacation mode in the Philippines, they will turn off their mobile phones so that OSM nor PTC cannot reach them. Actually, what they want is to reset their boarding schedule to January when the celebrations of December are over.
On the other hand, Enrile and Donato note that a seafarer has been working overseas for a long time, the ones they call “timers,” do not want to leave the ship during the holiday season.
Maybe they do not want to spend a lot for parties and gifts in the Philippines.
The family of a seafarer plays a role in the holiday mood of seafarers. They should be the “katiwala” of our seafarers and not “katiwaldas,” shipping executives quip. They are the ones who should encourage seafarers to spend reasonably during these times. Additionally, our seafarers should not be pressured to come up with numerous reasons just to be able to return home in December.
With holiday smarts, seafarers do not have to start the New Year saddled with debts.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am
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