Having learned of the amazing story involving Captain Alcantara, Steve Georganas, a Member of Parliament, delivered a commendation at the House of Congress in Canberra on 3 November 2005
Captain Roman Alcantara
I rise to speak on a matter concerning the MV Mawashi Al Gaseem, which was impounded in South Australia seven months ago.... Many of the crew were in a desperate plight, as they were the breadwinners for their extended families living in poverty back home in the Philippines, to whom they normally sent most of their wages. Many others connected by family ties were also depending on their help to pay bills for food, medicines, and the education of their children.,!--break-->
....But thank God for the generous, supportive Filipino community in South Australia. Their generosity meant that the crew who stayed on were looked after whilst in Adelaide. The captain and his crew were strongly supported by the Apostleship of the Sea, the MUA and the ITF, who had campaigned against these ‘ships of shame’—flags of convenience vessels, whose owners treat employees like disposable garbage.…
The courage, hope, and optimism of people in such adverse conditions should be recognised and celebrated. The moral leadership of Roman Alcantara Jr, the captain of Mawashi Al Gasseem, kept his crew focused despite the difficult circumstances that they were in. Leadership such as this, displayed when things are at their worst, should be acknowledged. So should the involvement and the help of the strong local Filipino community that we have in South Australia. The Filipino community responded to the needs of those on board the ship and tried to alleviate their plight. Month after month, the crew waited to be paid, dreading going home empty-handed to those who depended on them under these dreadful circumstances. Even the most level-headed people would be exasperated. One or two of the crew members were nearly suicidal. But the captain ensured that the Filipino crew did not lose their cool.
I will have the pleasure this Saturday in Adelaide of attending a ceremony organised by the Filipino community under the guidance of journalist Norma Hennessy and Dr Dante Juanta, OAM, to express appreciation for and pay tribute to the ship’s master, Captain Roman Alcantara Jr, and to acknowledge the efforts of the many local Filipino and Australian families who helped the crew with care and compassion. They understood this question: if we are not on this planet to help each other, then what are we here for?
PANGARAP AT PAMILYA
Akala ng iba, buhay marino'y kay sarap,
malikot na alon, hatid ay hirap.
Sa karagatang kay lapad,
upang sa pamilya'y makamit ang pangarap.
Buhay mandaragat, kung iyong iisipin,
hirap at pasakit, pilit mong titiisin.
Hagupit ng alon ay di mo pansin,
sa litrato ng pamilya, lagi kang nakatingin.
Dalangin sa Maykapal, ilayo sa sakuna,
ara ng pag-alis, mahal paalam na.
Pangarap sa pamilya, ay siyang laging una.
Sipag at tiyaga, sa barko'y lagi kong gawa,
aking perang naipon,l ang hatid ay tuwa.
Pag-tiket ko'y hawak na, agad tawag sa asawa,
buo kong pamilya, lahat ay nakatawa.
Arman Enriquez and Neil Verocel
MV Pride of Brugges