Southampton based charity Sailors’ Society held the official opening of a newly refurbished portacabin for seafarers last Saturday, 23 February.
Funded by a grant from the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), the portacabin offers seafarers docking in the city’s port, which handles around 14 million tonnes of cargo annually, the opportunity to access support services and free Wi-Fi.
Sailors’ Society’s deputy CEO, Sandra Welch, said: “We all rely upon the world’s 1.6 million seafarers to transport 90 per cent of the goods we use on a daily basis.
“Working at sea and being away from home for months at a time can be incredibly tough, so it is great to be able to offer seafarers a welcome change from the busy port environment and help them stay in touch with their family and friends. We’re incredibly grateful to the MNWB for enabling Sailors’ Society to provide this service.”
The cabin offers respite to seafarers unable to access city centre amenities due to limited shore leave and quick turnaround times.
As the umbrella organisation for the maritime charity sector, the MNWB supports the provision of welfare services for all seafarers and their dependants visiting UK ports.
Peter Tomlin, CEO of the MNWB, said: “It was a pleasure and privilege to attend the rededication of Sailors’ Society newly refurbished seafarers’ portacabin at Berth 207.
“We are pleased that, working with ABP and DP World, the Sailors’ Society team in Southampton have put one of our small grants to good use.
“They have created a warm, inviting and safe environment for seafarers to contact home and relax in during their invariably limited time ashore.”
Sailors’ Society’s Southampton port chaplain Jonathan Martin and his ship visiting team are also there to provide support to seafarers such as Wi-Fi hotspots, transportation and a listening ear. The charity’s services are further complemented by their Southampton Seafarers’ Centre at 108 East Street, which offers a variety of facilities, including Wi-Fi, a pool table, TV and a kitchen area for seafarers to use.
Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors have a presence in 95 global ports, with wider projects and services covering 30 countries. For more information about Sailors’ Society’s work, visit www.sailors-society.org