Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shipping Industry Supports Historic Charity Event

Mission to Seafarers Branch Celebrates 90th Anniversary
Shipping News Feature

SINGAPORE – In the year which sees the Singapore branch of the Mission to Seafarers (MtS) celebrate its 90th anniversary this historic occasion will be marked with an evening Reception on the 4th June hosted by the British High Commission and stakeholders of the shipping industry. The event is also timed to coincide with the formal opening ceremony on the preceding day of the Mission’s refurbished International Drop-in Centre (IDIC) for seafarers in Jurong Port, with special guest Ms Tan Beng Tee, Assistant CEO, from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Founded in England in 1856, and entirely funded by voluntary donations, today’s Mission to Seafarers is a registered charity that offers emergency assistance, practical support, and a friendly welcome to crews visiting over 260 ports around the world in 71 countries. The Revd Stephen Miller, MtS Regional Director for East Asia, said:

“I am looking forward to the opening of the new Mission to Seafarers Centre in Jurong Port. The Mission has had many different locations since it first opened its doors in Singapore in 1924. Constantly moving with the times and changing its activities to suit the changing needs of seafarers and the shipping industry is at the heart of what our 21st century mission needs to do. Within the region of East Asia, Singapore has become the busiest port and in the future we will continue to strengthen our presence here, serving seafarers of all nationalities regardless of faith or creed.

“It is a credit to the local Management Committee of the Singapore Branch of MtS that we have again a first class centre offering seafarers communication to their families and a home away from home in which to relax when they get time to step off their ships.”

The platinum sponsors of the Reception in Singapore will be leading global shipping companies Swire Group, a name which dates back even further than the Mission’s own 150+ year history and with strong links to the Far East since 1861, and the China Navigation Company, another Swire subsidiary formed by John Swire in 1872. Neil Glenn, Managing Director of Swire Pacific Offshore Operations (Pte) Ltd (SPO), commented:

“The Mission to Seafarers plays a vital role in overseeing the well-being of the global seafarer community. SPO is very pleased to support the fundraising reception organised by The Mission to Seafarers and warmly welcomes the establishment of its second drop-in centre in Singapore. We hope that the support of the local shipping industry can help sustain and develop The Mission to Seafarers’ charitable endeavours both in Singapore and around the world.”

The Mission has the highest credentials, with Her Majesty The Queen as Patron and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal as President and, although established with Christian principles, provides aid for any of the globe’s 1.5 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs whether helping the victims of piracy or providing a lifeline to those stranded in foreign ports Tim Blackburn, Managing Director of The China Navigation Company said:

“The Mission to Seafarers provides for the welfare and care of crews worldwide. The presence of its numerous Drop-in Centres has enhanced the wellbeing of seafarers, including many of our own, for over 150 years. There have been strong ties between our organisations for some time and we are very pleased to be able to offer tangible support to the MtS as it raises its profile in the Singapore shipping community with the opening of its second Drop-in Centre in Jurong to complement the existing centre in Tanjong Pagar.”

The Singapore Mission is also being generously funded by Berry Bros & Rudd, Ince & Co, Holman Fenwick Willan, Braemar Shipping Services, Celeste Group, Hartland Shipping Services, Jotun Group, Norton Rose Fulbright, NYK Group and RPC, and Mr Lee Wai Pong, the Chairman of MtS Singapore explained the effect of seeing the Mission in action had on him, saying:

“My first contact with The Mission to Seafarers was 40 years ago in Australia, when I was a cadet on board a general cargo ship visiting Brisbane. I was struck by the care and concern by the Australian volunteers who took time off to befriend us and made us feel welcome. Whilst shipping has changed much in 40 years, the ethos of MtS to provide care and concern to seafarers whose ships call at ports spread throughout the world remains unchanged. The opening of MtS’ new IDIC in Jurong Port is testimony of the continuity and strength of MtS commitment to its mission and I am proud to be part of the team to make the opening a reality.”

Photo: The Port of Singapore at night.