Seafarers in New Zealand stay connected
The Mission to Seafarers in New Zealand is safely delivering goods and connectivity to seafarers in Port Lyttleton thanks to an electric van funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Covid Emergency fund.
A few weeks after lockdown in New Zealand was announced, the country’s maritime authority designated port chaplains as essential workers and ship visits resumed. To ensure welfare provisions would be ready to meet the needs of seafarers arriving in the port, Reverend John McLister in Port Lyttleton sprung into action and successfully applied for the Covid emergency fund.
The result is that over the last two months the Lyttelton Seafarers’ Centre has been facilitating the care of seafarers prevented from coming ashore due to Covid-19 restrictions. The centre set up a system so crews could order goods online from the local supermarket to be collected and delivered to the ship by the port chaplain.
“As a Mission to Seafarers we have come a long way. Only a few years ago when there was nothing in Lyttleton for seafarers it was a common sight to see seafarers standing outside the library at night – even on cold winter evenings – trying to access the library’s free wi-fi.” says Reverend John McLister, the Mission to Seafarers’ chaplain.
“Having our own vehicle is key to providing seafarers with support they need and deserve during these times of crisis and beyond. The first thing we did was to get wi-fi to the crews. Then we realised some crew were keen to buy things they were running out of like toothpaste and soap powder, as well as a few snacks they hadn’t had for ages. With this electric van, we can zip in and out of the port with bags of groceries and get connectivity to ships. The smiles on seafarers’ faces when the groceries arrive and they can connect with their families is priceless. I can’t thank the ITF Seafarers’ Trust enough,” he ends.
“The Mission to Seafarers have been providing support for 150 years to seafarers around the world; often when they have no-one else to turn to. This emergency Covid support for Lyttelton Port is making a difference to seafarers’ welfare and wellbeing, and we’re proud to be helping out. ” Katie Higginbottom, Head of ITF Seafarers’ Trust.