Mission to Seafarers provides vital support
- Published: 22 January 2021
Prior to the global pandemic, Mission to Seafarers volunteers would personally welcome seafarers to shore for a short respite and hospitality whilst their ship was unloading and loading. For some seafarers, it is also a chance to use Wi-Fi to connect with their loved ones who they haven’t seen in months.
This all quickly changed when COVID-19 meant that seafarers would need to remain on their ships when docked in Port. For some, the typical monthly crew changeover had also come to a halt due to quarantine and international travel requirements.
The Mission to Seafarers in Albany quickly adapted to this ‘new world’ by offering care packages to be taken onboard to provide some small relief.
“We include anything in the care packages that will help cheer the seafarers up, so chocolates, lollies, noodles, playing cards, as well as some of the essentials they might need to stock up on like toiletries,” Jane said.
“We got this idea from Mission to Seafarers in London who had been putting together similar packages for crews who were docking over there,” she added.
“We’re so grateful to Southern Ports for providing us with ongoing funds to continue supporting seafarers in what has definitely been a challenging time for the industry. We want to make sure the seafarers know they haven’t been forgotten.”
“We’ve received photos from crews who are so grateful for these care packages and it helps us to keep that connection we had with them previously.”
In December 2020, it was reported that there are approximately 400,000 seafarers currently stuck on cargo ships worldwide, extending their service beyond the typical 11-month contract cap under the United Nations Maritime Labour Convention.
The work the Mission to Seafarers does is vital to Southern Ports’ operations, ensuring the wellbeing of all seafarers who visit.