Skip to main content

Nicholas Celona


The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) mourns the passing of Nicholas Celona, Vice President of Government Services of the Seafarers International Union (SIU), after he passed unexpectedly on June 8.

Celona's career with the SIU spanned over four decades, including serving as a Vice President since 2021. He was known for his relentless efforts to promote, protect and defend the US Merchant Marine and improve the lives and working conditions and well-being of seafarers in the US and around the world.

David Heindel, SIU President and Chair of ITF’s Seafarers’ Section, honoured Celona in June: “Back in the early 1980s, Nick and I had the privilege of working together in the port of New Orleans, a time during which we forged a lifelong friendship. Nick was a rare individual, brimming with a huge heart and an unwavering love for life. His infectious enthusiasm and unadulterated bravado left an indelible mark on everyone he met. As we remember Nick, we celebrate not only a dedicated seafarer but also a beloved father and friend who enriched our lives in countless ways. My deepest sympathies to his wife, Denise, and daughters Jennifer and Danielle.”

Celona's leadership was instrumental in many of SIU's significant achievements. US Vice President Kamala Harris hailed him as a "dedicated community leader" and acknowledged his efforts in strengthening the maritime industry and his local communities.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton paid tribute to Celona, saying, “Nick was a true internationalist. His unwavering dedication to the cause of seafarers’ rights extended far beyond US shores. He understood that the strength of our movement lies in our unity, across borders and oceans. Our thoughts are with Nick's family, friends, and our brothers and sisters at SIU during this difficult time.”

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President, also paid tribute to Celona, saying, " Nick Celona's passing is a profound loss for the SIU, the ITF, and the entire maritime industry. His legacy of solidarity, service and dedication will continue to guide and inspire those who follow in his footsteps. As we remember and honour his life, we recommit ourselves to the principles he championed and the vision he tirelessly pursued.”

Vale, Nicholas Celona.