Critical Local Charity Mission to Seafarers bolstered in 2022 by $25,000 partnership to support Seafarer Vaccinations, Mental Health and Welfare

Sorely impacted by COVID-19, local charity organisation The Mission to Seafarers has received a $25,000 helping hand to enable them to continue delivering their life-changing mental health and wellbeing support work for thousands of seafarers who sail into Newcastle each year.

Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, said The Missions to Seafarers is a lifeline for seafarers visiting the Port who would otherwise have no support or contact without the services they provide.

“Garry, Christine and their team of volunteers are the friendly faces working in Port of Newcastle who welcome seafarers from right across the globe with openness, offering them help, pastoral care, groceries, and even in recent months vaccinations so they can disembark ships in their native countries, making our city as welcoming as a home visit for crews at sea.”

“We know that 2021 was a difficult year for many in our community, including local charities, and the work that The Mission to Seafarers in keeping seafarers who visit our city, and all over the world, supported has proven more critically valuable than ever before,” said CEO Craig Carmody.

“We are so pleased that we have been able to answer their call for help by more than doubling our annual contribution to this invaluable charity service.”

The Mission to Seafarers General Manager and Senior Chaplain to Newcastle, Garry Dodd said Port of Newcastle’s support has come at a time where the Mission has needed it most.

“The Port’s continuing and increased support will help us to continue our wellbeing support for seafarers and provide more with access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Without any way to access a vaccination we know many seafarers would not be able to re-enter their home countries. Funding support enabled us to give one seafarer his second dose of the vaccine which enabled him to be allowed go home and see his family in time for Christmas after nearly two-years at sea. This makes what we do so prominent,” Mr Dodd said.

“We are both humbled and overjoyed to receive this level of support from Port of Newcastle. It’s been such a hard two years, so to have an overwhelming affirmation of our work and Ministry for seafarers means so much, not only to the Mission but to the thousands of seafarers we support each year.”

In response to the pandemic and this impact on the global freight supply chain, Seafarers are now being offered critical COVID-19 vaccinations through a program being run by The Mission to Seafarers in collaboration with Hunter New England Health and Port of Newcastle’s operations team.

Mission to Seafarers has adapted their services in response to the impact of COVID including enhancing their digital and online services through an online shop, increased social media presence whilst at the same time losing a large proportion of their volunteer base. 

“The pandemic has compounded the impact of being at sea immensely. Our service has had to find new ways to continue providing pastoral support for those who are seriously ill and getting seafarers and crews access to basic essentials that you or I would take for granted. For example, this year we were able to get toothpaste to a crew who has been without it for months because they have been unable to access this themselves.”

“The pandemic has had many effects on the service we provide and changed the way we need to support seafarers. The Mission to Seafarers is often the only contact or interaction seafarers have with people on the mainland and the pandemic means not only have they not been able to get off the vessel unless for medical emergencies, but many have been at sea away from their families for up to two years. That is an incredibly long time,” Mr Dodd said.

The Mission to Seafarers Newcastle is part of a global mission founded in 1856 operating in more than 230 ports world-wide. It operates through a network of chaplains, honorary chaplains, lay staff and helpers. In Newcastle the Mission operates through a network of chaplains, honorary chaplains, lay staff and its volunteers offering help and support for all seafarers from around the world.

“Port of Newcastle has been a long-term supporter of The Mission to Seafarers in its pivotal charity work to provide psychological, emotional, practical and spiritual support for Seafarers and their families. We are proud that our support will help them continue to offer this essential service and support the vaccination of seafarers who are the lifeblood of the internal freight and logistics supply chain. Without seafarers we would not have steel for buildings, cars to drive or many basic household items nor would we be able to ship our highly sought-after Australian wines, wheat and advanced manufacturing equipment to the world,” Mr Livesey said.

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