Seafarers arriving at Associated British Port’s Port of King’s Lynn now have a place to call their own with the launch of a seafarers’ centre.
Initiated by seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) and largely funded by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, the £10,000 facility offers visiting crew a dedicated space to relax and communicate with their families back home.
Sister Marian Davey, AoS Port Chaplain at Lynn, said; “It is the first time in the port’s recent history that a space has been set aside specifically for seafarers to use.
“This is a big first. Up till now, crew had to go into town to buy top-up cards to be able to contact home. Now they have free use of Wi-Fi and internet at the centre.”
The centre was formally opened by Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia and Bob Jones, chairman of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.
It will be a place where seafarers can chat with the port chaplain and volunteers as well as access the internet to communicate with friends and families after months at sea.
With ships usually docking for no more than 24 hours, crews are often unable to venture far from the port.
Until now the crews of the 250 or so ships that dock in Lynn each year have had nowhere away from their ships to go to socialise and relax.
The centre – in a dedicated mobile building – will act as a base for AoS teams to support crew members generally, look after seafarers who are sick or injured and a place for prayer .
Alastair McFarlane, port manager East Anglia, said; “We owe a great deal of gratitude to the brave men and women who operate the vessels that keep this nation supplied. So we are really proud to be part of delivering this vital service to crew visiting the port of King’s Lynn. Seafarers spend a lot of time on board their ships and with this service we can offer them a home away from home.”
Sister Marian gave thanks to Associated British Ports, the owner and operator of the port, for offering a prime site in the port for the seafarers’ centre.