Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From Container Ship to Fishing Smack - Someone Out There is Always on the Side of the Crew

Princess Royal Opens Renovated Mission to Seafarers Club
Shipping News Feature

UK – Today (22 January) sees HRH the Princess Royal, President of the Mission to Seafarers, opening the newly renovated South Shields Seafarers’ Club following its extensive renovation by the Isos Housing Group. With Her Majesty The Queen as Patron, the royal family have close ties with a charity which provides support on global scale to those mariners who are suffering problems which vary from piracy to shipwreck and abandonment whether they be from a container ship to a fishing smack.

Isos has been renovating the Holborn House building on Mill Dam including a flats complex. The Mission moved premises to accommodate the structural works needed and in turn Isos have refurbished the seafarers’ club area. Dianne Erskine, Centre Manager, is glad to be returning to the historic building and the refurbished club area, which will provide a home away from home for many seafarers visiting the Tyne area, such as the recently abandoned MV Donald Duckling crew, whom South Shields’ Mission staff recently assisted throughout Christmas and the New Year until those stranded were flown home. Dianne said:

“Staff and volunteers at the Mission are looking forward to greeting HRH the Princess Royal, showing her the new club area for seafarers and to her unveiling of the new plaque to mark this important event. We are so pleased to be back in the Holborn House building on Mill Dam and thank Isos for the refurbishment, especially the new kitchen, washrooms and disabled access which will help us to provide vital help to seafarers.”

Founded in 1856, and entirely funded by voluntary donations, today’s Mission to Seafarers offers emergency support to any of the world’s 1.3 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Services range from justice and welfare support, counselling, transport to enable crews ashore for only a short time in remote locations to access vital services and the Flying Angel phone card, known by seafarers everywhere, providing a vital link to friends and family.

To maintain the centres which offer refreshments, television, books, recreational activities, internet and phone facilities and the chance to spend time away from the ship in over a hundred ports funds are always needed and any donations via the Mission’s Just Giving web page are always gratefully received.

Photo: The Norwegian barque Patria which foundered on Chesil Beach in October 1903 courtesy of the Burton Bradstock Village website.