April 16, 2019
Article by
Rev Un Tay

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Operation Cruise Terminal success

This year started on a high note. It is exciting to see a record number of seafarers from cruise vessels visiting our Mission. Since our Mission moved to Hickson Road in 2013, I was quite puzzled as to why so few seafarers from cruise vessels visited our center. I have been visiting the crew on board various cruise vessels each year but not more than 10 seafarers visited the Mission each season. During this cruise season, and after much consultation and deliberation, we decided to launch Operation Cruise Terminal on 29 October 2018. Our main objective was to inform and raise awareness among seafarers working on board cruise vessels - who we are, where we are and what services we offer to assist them.



CARE FOR MARINERS

Our chaplains, staff and volunteers provide excellent care for seafarers around the world with compassion. At our Mission, we offer an atmosphere of a home away from home where mariners can come to relax and call their family members back home. We also provide a place of hospitality, by providing free internet and Wi-Fi services; listening to news updates in their own language; changing foreign currencies or remitting wages to family members; while enjoying a free cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We too sell discounted tickets to places of interest such as Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Wild Life Park and Sydney Tower Eye. Due to long contracts and stressful working conditions on board vessels, seafarers struggle with isolation, loneliness, depression and mental health issues. At our Mission Centre, we provide a sanctuary of hope for those struggling with personal or work related issues and our compassionate chaplains provide pastoral care on personal and confidential matters. We also visit seafarers in hospital. A happy seafarer is a productive seafarer. Understanding the needs of seafarers is vital. Knowing that, we allow seafarers to use our Mission address where their internet orders can be delivered. But they have to pick up their parcels personally from our Mission. We have since had more than 100 parcels delivered this season, some are small and some are big - really big. We believe Operation Cruise Terminal can reasonably be called a success. Since launching, we have had more than 150 seafarers visit the Mission. From experience 90% of seafarers on board cruise vessels have not heard of Mission to Seafarers, the other 10% who have do not know our location. We can proudly say that we have increased awareness of the Mission among the seafarers via our presence at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and by visiting them on board the vessels.


THE SEASON AHEAD

The next cruise season starts in September/October 2019. We will continue our Operation Cruise Terminal 2 at OPT. In the meantime, we are planning a new initiative called, Operation White Bay Cruise Terminal. There are many cruise vessels visiting White Bay Cruise Terminal and many that Overseas Passenger Terminal; Sydney IHE berth overnight. The seafarers on board have no means of travelling to the city or visiting the Mission. Therefore we are ready to help them out by transporting them to the Mission and allowing them to visit the beautiful city of Sydney. We will request permission from relevant authorities to set up a facilitating station there to disseminate information regarding Sydney Mission to Seafarers.

We need volunteers to partner with us in this initiative. If you are available please click here to find out more. Alternatively, please visit our Facebook
 
If you are a seafarer yourself or are a company connected with the shipping industry, I would like to inform you that International seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) are seeking nominees for the Best Welfare Centre and Best Welfare Personality of the Year awards. Seafarers can nominate their welfare heroes at www.seafarerswelfareawards.org/nominate. People and organizations involved with seafarers' welfare can also nominate for the two Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year awards. If you think we are worthy of such an award, we'd be grateful if you could go to the website and nominate us.