Tag Archives: seafarers’ centres

At Anchor in Port Manatee

Seafarers in Port Manatee on the Gulf of Mexico can be assured of finding a friend in Anchor House.

Anchor HouseCelebrating its 20th anniversary of fellowship to seafarers at Port Manatee, USA, Anchor House is an integral part of the independent ecumenical Christian ministry to seafarers, affiliated to ICMA’s member in North America, NAMMA.

The Bradenton Herald reported that Chaplain and Director Tim Huppert and Chaplain and Manager Trish Alligood board ships with an outstretched hand even when they can’t speak the language of the crews to offer support, reading materials, worship and a listening ear to whoever’s on board.

More than 5,000 international seafarers visit the port annually. Those seafarers able to come ashore, come to the small building that houses the mission for free computer use, telephone access and other kinds of communication, as well as food and other personal necessities.

Port workers and various volunteers stop by Anchor House to help out or participate in programs or Bible study. Anchor House has Bibles in 30 different languages to offer seafarers.

A local port worker who regularly eats his lunch there, said it’s the environment the chaplains create that takes him back there again and again.

“You walk in here and its spiritual. These two touch us. They give everything, their whole heart and all, for everybody. It’s good to be here,” Stanfield said.

Click here to read the whole article authored by Dee Graham

 

Old enough to be “heritage”…

The years of service delivered by seafarers’ missions is often forgotten or underestimated. It is gratifying when port communities understand the significance of centres for seafarers. 

When The (Australia) National Trust recently hosted a conference on the future of Melbourne’s maritime heritage, it was acknowledged that the domed roof of the Mission to Seafarers is iconic to Melbourne’s port.  It is an unmissable beacon to seafarers and landlubbers alike.  Docklands News reported:

Maritime heritage links the North Wharf and South Wharf areas.  The Shed 5 and Mission to Seafarers on the North Wharf have together served in history and today present unique opportunities to restore the balance back towards preservation of maritime history.  The iconic dome structure of the mission building is a notable landmark for seafarers and many visitors daily. The dome and Shed 5 are earmarked for restoration and will become even more noticeable.

“But “, Docklands News asks, ” what if the mission building was not there?”  The building, it says, will be preserved as part of the City of Melbourne’s heritage.

“…The vision for Melbourne’s Docklands was developed as a result of an extensive consultation program conducted by VicUrban (now  Places Victoria) and the City of Melbourne. The vision recognised and builds on Docklands’ unique qualities and positions it to play a vital part in maintaining and enhancing Melbourne’s role as a global city.”

We who work from these buildings know that the structures themselves, though significant part of the local architecture, are merely the spaces from where the love of God is made apparent in acts of hospitality and the pursuit of justice for all people of the sea. It is for our fellowship and faith that we are remembered and valued by seafarers.

 

Tough times for centres

Seafarers’ centres represented at the ICMA Black Sea Mediterranean and Middle East Regional Conference report on how tough it has become to maintain facilities and staff.  

Reports received from the centres in the region reveal the challenges that beset ICMA members’ operations and service delivery to seafarers.

Some centres, like Yalta’s, have long and proud histories.  Others are fledgling operations, starting up to meet the needs of seafarers in the region.

The dedication of our chaplains to continue their work in the face of almost impossible odds, is all too apparent.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to afford centres or even centreless ministries.  Chaplains, ship visitors and centre staff  often volunteer their services. Good news is that the AoS report that it established a chaplain in Casablanca,  Morocco, in February 2013.  Father Arnaud de Boissieu, previously from Marseille, now visits crews onboard ships in Casablanca.

Port authorities in many cases have little understanding of chaplaincy, resulting in chaplains being denied access to ports and ships, and centres receiving little if any support from ports. Chaplains were urged to nurture relations with their ports.  ICMA should consider ways to assist and train chaplains to engage in fruitful discussions with port authorities on ISPS interpretation regarding access and understanding the Maritime Labour Convention.  Presently, in all of Ukraine, only Odessa’s port authority allows unfettered access for chaplains.

The Seafarers’ Centre in the Port of Yalta related just how difficult it is to maintain services. However, their survival as a centre is a story of marvelous resilience and innovation. They singled out Douglas Stevenson, and the Center for Seafarers Rights, for praise and gratitude for valued support over many years.