In Uruguay, the UTT (Unión de Trabajadores del Transporte Marítimo Aéreo Terrestre y Afines) is supporting unemployed maritime workers with packs of food and hygiene supplies to help them manage through these difficult times.
Over the last year, the UTT has provided over 200 packs every month to maritime workers in need. A recent grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust is enabling them to continue supporting local and visiting seafarers with basic needs.
Francisco Del Gaudio, General Secretary of the UTT explained “The pandemic has had a huge impact on our members. Most workers who were previously employed by the ferry sector have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and have no prospect of work in sight, they and their families depend on the food and sanitary baskets to live.”
As well as supporting maritime workers in Uruguay, the union has also been providing basic PPE and sanitary supplies to foreign seafarers who arrive in their ports. Ships arriving in Uruguay are offered a kit of gloves, masks and alcohol gel to keep them safe in port. In addition, some seafarers do not have access to the internet to contact family and friends back home and the UTT are assisting with portable internet access so they can speak to their families.
Mr Del Gaudio also noted that funding from the Trust had also assisted in the refurbishment of the Casa Del Marino run by the UTT, which had accommodated seafarers and assisted in the repatriation of over 200 seafarers during the pandemic.
Katie Higginbottom, Head of the Trust, said “While the impact of the pandemic is beginning to be managed in some areas, the restrictions and effects are still harshly felt by maritime workers, both at home and at sea. We’re delighted to assist the UTT in providing practical support to seafarers in Uruguay.”