NSW Ports is pleased to work with Mission to Seafarers and Sister Mary of the Stella Maris to support Day of the Seafarer, a special day where we pay tribute to the mostly unseen work performed by 1.6 million seafarers worldwide.
To help bring a bit of comfort and cheer for these vital workers, NSW Ports, Mission to Seafarers and Sister Mary Leahy are delivering 245 locally made pizzas for the 310 seafarers who are on-board vessels docked at Port Botany and Port Kembla today. Given current COVID-19 restrictions, most of them have been at sea for many months without shore leave.
NSW Ports Head of Corporate Affairs, Vida Cheeseman says, “NSW Ports is pleased to offer a small slice of local comfort to these vital workers. Australia is an island nation, with 98% of our trade arriving by sea. In managing both Port Botany and Port Kembla, we see first-hand the critical role these seafarers play in connecting our ports to domestic and global marketplaces, to support the people and businesses of NSW.”
“We are particularly thrilled to partner with Mission to Seafarers and Sister Mary of the Stella Maris to deliver this special care package today. They play an important role in looking after the pastoral needs and advocating for the welfare of Seafarers.”
NSW Ports has also worked with Seafarer Connect to roll out free WIFI at Port Botany to enable the 19,000 seafarers who visit Port Botany each year to call home and connect with friends and family.
Through the Seafarer Connect initiative, port officials hand the ship’s master a pelican case containing a high-tech ‘Cradlepoint’ WIFI kit specially developed by the Sydney Telstra Business Technology Centre to get seafarers online through their phones, tablets and computers.
“It’s very special when you see seafarers getting some face time with their families after months at sea, it’s pretty emotional to be honest,” says Bernie Farrelly from Seafarers Connect.
“The mental health benefits for crew, who are often at sea for over a year at a time, of phone, zoom, & messaging contact with loved ones cannot be overstated. It really is a case of plug and play. It’s fantastic seafarers moving containers, petrol and gas through Port Botany can now keep in contact with their loved ones.”
A seafarer who recently visited Port Botany from the Russian Federation, recently told Seafarers Connect regardless of rank or country of origin, the ability to connect to high speed WIFI free of charge made it a little easier to be away from family & friends.
“Everybody on board is thankful for the opportunity to call home and speak with family,” he said.
For more information on the Seafarer Connect initiative visit: https://www.seafarerconnect.com.au
For more information on Day of the Seafarer visit https://www.missiontoseafarers.org/seafarers-day