Being connected - In the Mission to Seafarers Happiness Index at www.happyatsea.org a survey completed by seafarers, a seafarer stated, “In this age when the whole world is connected by high speed Internet, only seafarers are left out. Even on ships where Internet is available it is available at an insanely high price”. The survey showed that seafarers with Wi-Fi access were happier, could cope better with the inevitable loneliness and boredom onboard by staying in touch with loved ones and the stories of the day. There is today a broad spectrum on ships from unlimited free Wi-Fi, to free limited i.e. several hours a day, to Wi-Fi at a cost which is often expensive, to no Wi-Fi. The result is that seafarers are refusing vessels with no Wi-Fi which could lead to recruitment retention issues. Some shipping companies, owners, claim Wi-Fi is expensive and there is the concern including from captains that seafarers on unlimited free Wi-Fi will misuse it leading to fatigue and subsequent health and safety issues. An Indian Chief Officer said that people on shore sleep even though they have unlimited Wi-Fi because it becomes the norm and why would Seafarers be any different. There are calls from seafarers and welfare groups for free Wi-Fi on-board to be compulsory on all ships. For those of us who live on shore and take Wi-Fi for granted until we don’t have it then we ‘feel at sea’, you have to sympathize with the seafarers. Free Wi-Fi on all ships is on the horizon and hopefully there can be a balance to keep seafarers connected, safe and happier in their work.
A seafarer happy with the Wi-Fi at Roberts Bank
‘Sharing the burden’ by Vancouver intern Vincent NG - On September 12th 2019 it was my work day with OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) and I planned to catch up on piles of accumulated work. Yet, prompted by the Holy Spirit, I had an urge to visit a ship at the Pacific Coast Terminal in Port Moody. It was raining outside and with a heavy workload I struggled as to whether to go or not. Off I did go and met the captain over lunch who shared that a seafarer died from heart attack in January 2019 after setting sail from Vancouver to S. Korea. The crew was shocked and everyone signed off except him. The captain attempted to seek spiritual support in ports but to no avail; no one could perform any religious ceremony with regard to this sad experience. I noticed heaviness in the eyes of the captain. Guided by the Holy Spirit, I offered a cleansing and prayer service at the cabin of the deceased. Immediately after the service, I sensed that there was feeling of relief for the captain and a few crew members. Leaving the ship, the captain walked with me to the gangway, and I saw gratitude in his eyes when we waved goodbye. It appeared that the burden and heaviness of his heart was relieved after nine months of feeling helpless!
Mission to Seafarers Canada- The Mission to Seafarers is a global network of Chaplains and centres in ports supporting seafarers. It is made up of seven regions Canada and its ports including Vancouver being one of them. The regions are semi-autonomous with the HQ in London providing support as needed.You can find out more at www.missiontoseafarers.ca
Mission Board of Directors- We welcome Terry Duggan to the board and look forward to his experience and fresh insight as we further the work of the Mission in caring for the seafarers.The Board of Directors meets every two months and is made up people from within and outside the maritime world each with their own skill set such as legal and financial.
Partnership with St Michaels Multi-cultural Anglican Church, Broadway Vancouver. We renewed the partnership agreement on On Sunday 29th of September at the morning service with a full church we gave thanks to God and for what we do together for the seafarers going forward. We acknowledged Pilong, Grace and Pauline who have completed the online Merchant Navy Welfare Board Ship Visitor Course. They have been impacting the lives of the seafarers on their visits esp. the Filipinos who they can engage more fully with.Sincere thanks was offered to the clergy and people of St Michaels for lifting up and showing such commitment to the seafarers.
The banner was made by people at St Michaels for the celebrations on Sunday September 29th. Chaplain Peter,Father Wilmer and Father Eric
As we look ahead into the Fall we will be welcoming two groups to the Waterfront Centre one Pathfinders ages 13-15yrs and the other Grade 5 children from a local Christian School to share the story of the seafarer and the work of the Mission.The former group will be supporting our Christmas at Sea Appeal by making up Christmas gift bags for seafarers. There is the Remembrance Day Service on Monday November 11th at the memorial in Lonsdale by the BCIT Marine Campus. Preparations are already underway for Christmas at Sea 2019.
Christmas at Sea 2019 ‘being present!’ Once again we will be thinking of the needs of seafarers who already face loneliness and isolation onboard and esp. those who are Christians and away from family at Christmas. The gift bags we give to every seafarer first by going by boat to the ships in English Bay on Christmas Eve and then at berth are only possible with the help of donations and the volunteers who put them together. Items we are asking people to donate are; socks, toques - bought or made, soap, chocolate, tooth paste, tooth brushes, combs, small Canadian souvenir ( no scarfs as they are dangerous onboard). They can be dropped off at the Waterfront Centre in Vancouver until Friday 6th December as can cash/ cheque donations which we can use to purchase the extra we need. If there is no way to get the gifts to the centre then call the Mission.
Handing out Christmas gifts to Seafarers an annual service.
Donations to support the seafarers can be made by; Cheque to Mission to Seafarers. Cash. Credit card- under ‘Donate and Tithely on our secured website www.flyingangel.ca or through the Vancouver Foundation. Always received with our gratitude
Contact information- 401 East Waterfront Road, Vancouver,BC, V6A 4G9, Tel: 604 253 4421. Email: email@example.com Facebook: @mission2seafarers Twitter: @MtSVancouver