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Idled seamen continue siege on Arimura ships

Date Posted: 2008-08-18

Merchant seamen fired by Arimura Industrial Company when it filed for bankruptcy more than a month ago remain aboard three company ships anchored off shore near Camp Kinser in Urasoe City, demanding they be given jobs when new owners are selected.
The Naha District Court will ultimately rule on Arimura’s bankruptcy, and dispose of assets that include three ships, the Hiryuu 21, Kairyuu and the Hiryuu. The court is expected to oversee sale of the ships to a new owner by the end of August.
Meanwhile, the seamen, all members of the All Japan Seamen’s Union, are striking and demanding they be hired when the new owners take over. Kin Sawai, the Seamen’s Union Okinawa Branch chairman, says “the new ship owner will be selected by Naha District Court, but crews to operate and maintain the ships should be selected by the seamen’s Union.”
He says the strike action will stop and the seamen will leave the ships once a decision is made by the new owners and maintenance company. Sawai says here asre still issues unsettled, including when the ships will again be sailing, and what will be done to protect union workers’ pension money.

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