Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Newest UK Deep Water Container Port Helps to Provide Support for Sailors Far From Home  

London Gateway and QVSR Make Life Away More Bearable with Rest and Recreation Centre

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Shipping News Feature UK – Only this week we pointed out the importance of looking after the physical and mental health of seafarers', many of whom are thousands of miles from home with only occasional contact with loved ones. Now Britain's latest deep water container port, DP World's London Gateway, has officially opened its newly refurbished seafarers' centre, with local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe, cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

The port management has recently invested £10,000 in upgrading the facilities as part of a joint project with Queen Victoria’s Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) which manages the centre on behalf of DP World London Gateway. The centre, which is located just a stone’s throw from the port, has benefitted from redecoration and improved facilities to create a more homely environment for sailors to enjoy some respite away from their ship.

Amenities include free Wi-Fi, television, pool table, comfortable seating and a vending machine to re-stock essentials such as phone cards and toiletries. Colin Hitchcock, Harbour Master for DP World London Gateway, observed:

“DP World London Gateway is working to create a better future for everyone. Shipping services, and the men and women that operate these services at sea, are at the very heart of this global trade; without their work, we would not have the expanse of goods that we enjoy in the UK, from bananas and avocados to flat screen TVs!

”Having served in the Merchant Navy, I well understand what life is like on a vessel. It can be a lonely and isolating experience, with arduous work and long periods at sea without contact with family and friends. It is therefore only fitting that DP World London Gateway provide a comfortable and well-equipped seafarers’ centre, where sailors can enjoy much deserved respite.”

Sailors that are docking for longer periods can make use of a free shuttle bus, also funded by DP World London Gateway, to the seafarers’ centre at the port of Tilbury that also has a pool table, football pitch, basketball court and bar among its facilities. Anyone who remembers the ‘facilities’ available in Tilbury in the 1970’s and ‘80’s will know that these are luxuries undreamt of at the time! Alexander Campbell, Chief Executive QVSR, concurred, saying:

“Good welfare facilities in a port can help break down some of those feelings of isolation and loneliness that seafarers may experience. The new facilities at DP World London Gateway offer an opportunity to rest and relax away from the ship. Seafarers can communicate with family and friends via the free Wi-Fi network, play pool or watch some sport on television. The centre is comfortable and has a London theme which allows ‘selfies’ to be taken against a River Thames backdrop; providing a taste of the city for those that don’t have time to visit!”

At the ceremony Stephen Metcalfe said he was delighted to open the newly refurbished and expanded Centre and praised QVSR for their vital and much needed service. He thanked all involved ‘for the care they provide to those who keep goods flowing into our country, as well as those who help our exports reach every corner of the world’.

Photo: (LtoR) Alexander Campbell, Chief Executive QVSR; Colin Hitchcock, Harbour Master for DP World London Gateway; Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

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