Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Always There for Seafarers in 250 Ports Worldwide

Piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems merchant seafarers face. Here in the Port of Seattle, The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) provides help and support for many of the 50,000 men and women from seventy or more nations whose efforts secure billions of dollars of products from logs and agricultural goods, to electronics and aircraft parts. Our port is vital to our local economy, providing up to two hundred thousand jobs in this state alone.

St. Peter's volunteering at the Port of Seattle MtS in 2011
For cruise ship employees, often away from their families for up to ten months a year, we provide transportation to the City Center where they can spend their time shopping, get needed medical care and pharmacy services, and a meal away from the ship. Our shuttle service between Pier 91 and Downtown Seattle is a vital link for hundreds of cruise ship employees who have only a few short hours away from the ship.

As a Christian agency, we work in 250 ports worldwide caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Through our global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers we offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in centers and a range of welfare and emergency support services.

In over 100 ports our Flying Angel centers provide a ‘home away from home’ for seafarers who may have been at sea for up to two years. Here they can enjoy time away from their ship and use internet and phone facilities to get in touch with loved ones after months away.

In an emergency, the MtS is often the only help on offer. No matter what problem a seafarer is facing, be it injury, abandonment, non-payment of wages or personal difficulties, they know they can turn to the local Mission for help, advice and support. Our chaplains and volunteers offer practical and financial support, advocacy services, family liaison or simply a space to talk in a time of crisis.

The Mission to Seafarers was founded in 1856 and is entirely funded by voluntary donations.