2022 Christmas Program

During the Christmas season, the Saint John Seafarers’ Mission provides gifts to the seafarers who are visiting our port. These gifts are packaged with the goal of giving items of necessity, with “a little something extra”, at a time when these men and women are feeling the loneliness of being away from their families. In 2021, with generous support from groups and individuals, the Mission distributed 152 Christmas packages to 7 ships. One of these packages was delivered to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where one crew member was recovering from illness. All expressed appreciation for the gifts and for thinking of them at this season of the year.  

Ideas for items you could include in a Christmas package:

  • Toiletries:  shampoo, body wash, soap, shave cream, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss,  mouth wash, deodorant, disposable razors, lip balm, comb, hand/body lotion, sanitizer, kleenex
  • Warm Items: gloves, socks, scarf, toque 
  • A Little Something Extra”:  Playing Cards, Game Book, Note Pad, Pen, Canada souvenir (pin/magnet/key chain), Candy, (individually wrapped), Chocolate bars, chips, gum, etc.
  • Christmas card

Note 1:  Please do not wrap individual items. Port security controls, in the US and Canada, impose a responsibility on us to scan the contents of any parcels before they go aboard ships (to assure Security that the packages are risk-free).    

If you want to support our Christmas Program but don’t want to do a ‘package’, another option would be to donate some items we generally have a shortage of (see ‘Note’) or to donate money for the program (tax receipts will be issued).        

Note 2:  We generally have a shortage of gloves, scarves, shampoo, deodorant, shave cream, hand lotion, lip balm

Note 3:  If you are packing the Christmas bag yourself, the suggested approximate size is smaller than in previous years [ 10 1/2” (h), 8 3/4”  (w) and 4 1/2” (d) ].  

Without help from others, we could not provide these gifts.  If you are interested in supporting this project, you may drop your Christmas donations at the Mission (92 Tilley Lane, Saint John).  To ensure the Mission is open OR if you need someone to pick up your items, please call Bev at (506) 635-1731 to make arrangements or email seaf@nb.aibn.com .

New Wifi service added

click here for info about Vaccination against COVID 19

Saint John Seafarers Mission

New Service for Seafarers

In the past few days an initiative of the Saint John Seafarers mission has begun to make a difference.   When the pandemic began to affect the ability of seafarers to contact home and do local shopping Chaplain Eric Phinney of the Saint John Seafarers mission began to dream of an alternative way to bring service to the seafarers that visit the port.   

The scheme involves several different components and can be scaled up to eventually include every berth in the Port of Saint John.   It begins with providing a good wifi signal to a ship that is alongside.   Many ships today do provide Wi-Fi to their crew but it often comes with a cost or is limited in quality and quantity.

Recently the Port of Saint John installed three access points on the lighting towers at the Container Terminal on the west side of the harbour.    Other points in the harbor that have free Wi-Fi include the Mission Centre on Tilley Road, the Potash Terminal at Lower Cove and the Oil Terminals in Courtney Bay.

The newly installed Access points at the Container Terminal have an additional feature that give assistance to seafarers.  When the seafarer finds the signal that is at the SSID of  “sjseafarers” his browser is forwarded to a page on the Saint John Seafarers Website https://sjseafarers.com/?page_id=98  that is set up for visiting seafarers.   Upon landing on this page the seafarer is advised of a variety of service that can be accessed virtually.    These include virtual shopping at Walmart and other stores.    Phone numbers, email and WhatsApp contact information for the Chaplain and Mission manager and a variety of websites of general interest to seafarers.

Within hours of the first Access point going live the chaplain received a phone call from one of the Engineers aboard a container vessel.    He had recently discovered that his cell phone was damaged and would not work.   For a seafarer who has had his contract extended because of the pandemic, his cell phone was his only link to his family back home.  Chaplain Eric Phinney was able to retrieve the cell phone at the foot of the Gangway and find a replacement phone.

Future plans include ensuring that all free Wi-Fi points that are directed at ships will forward the seafarers phone to the Mission web pages so that they can see what is available to them.

Rev. Eric Phinney

Port Chaplain

Saint John Seafarers Mission.

(506) 643-0799

Let us pick up your shopping!

Because of Covid it is very difficult for Seafarers to get out to do the kind of shopping that they usually like to do. Therefore we have set up a system where by they can place an order and we (Saint John Seafarers Mission ) can pay for it, pick it up and deliver it to the ship. Sometimes the time lines are quite tight. When you think you are ready to order email me and lets work this out together. Eric Phinney, Chaplain Saint John Seafarers Mission.


Procedure for ordering from Walmart in Saint John

Appoint one member of the crew to be the liaison person. They can contact me on messenger, by email or phone 1(506)643-0799 sjseafarers@gmail.com

I will advise you of the Password to use for shopping at Walmart . The logon will be


Set the store location to:  Saint John East Supercentre

Fill the shopping basket with your items.    Make sure that they show that they are available. 

Maximum value to be less than $1000CDN

Maximum number of items 200

Email me at sjseafarers@gmail.com when the order is complete.    I will pay for it and then convert it to USD and bring it to the ship.  I will send you the total amount that you will pay in US cash.

Procedure for ordering from Best Buy

Go to http://bestbuy.ca

Creat an account using one of the crews email addresses.  

Make the Password Sjseafarers[name of ship]

Set the Postal code to E2H2J5 (this will ensure that you connect to the Saint John store)

As you find items you wish to purchase, select “pickup in Store”

You will fill in a form that says who will pick it up. Put in my information

When this is done email me at sjseafarers@gmail.com with your account name and Password.   I will send you confirmation that I have paid the store and tell you what you will own me in USD.   I will convert to USD and add a 5% handling fee. I will then arrange a delivery time to the ship. 

Do not put the order in until you know that the ship will be docking.   BESTBUY  will only hold the items for 24 hours. 

At some point it would be really great if each of the crew could fill in the survey below. It has been developed by the Mission to Seafarers in the UK and helps us tremendously to serve you better.


Eric Phinney

Port Chaplain Saint John

Our sold out golf tournament is next Thursday and we'd like to thank our many sponsors and participants for their support!Particularly our lead sponsors CPKC, Nutrien, and Commercial Properties Limited.Also a big thank you to the organizing committee!The golf tournament is our primary fundraising event each year and we could not carry out the work of caring for seafarers without your support. ...
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The 16th Annual Saint John Seafarers Mission Golf Tournament will take place on September 21, 2023 at Westfield Golf & Country Club.To register contact Beverly (506) 635-1731 or Mike (506) 651-4743 ...
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5 months ago

Saint John Seafarers Mission
Saint John Seafarers Mission ...
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After a long stay in our port and many trips for shopping the Crew of the Genco Laddey was on their way, but not before saying thank you. ...
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This afternoon Val and I delivered over $1000 of personal items to the crew of the Balsa93. The crew has all had their contracts extended by 6 months ( not good). The crew was over joyed and so thankful to receive personal goods for the first time in over 4 months. This was the only time someone had responded to their request for a bit of shopping. ...
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I’m out shopping with some Seafarers from the potash ship on Christmas Eve. They will be here over the holiday but because the ship is busy loading we can only get a limited number of crew off at a time to go shopping. All the stores will be closed for the next two days. We are doing some high tech shopping. The crew with me are using video chat to connect with the ship so that the ones stuck aboard can shop too. We have fiber optic service at the berth. ...
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Steven Webb from CBC interviewed us at the Mission today and included these two crew members from a container ship. It will be aired early Monday morning and also role on the news. He will also create some content for CBC Online. ...
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Balsa 92 getting some Christmas. This ship has been a regular caller at our Potash terminal. They were here only about 12 hours and will likely spend Christmas Day at sea. ...
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21 gifts delivered to the crew of this bulker tied up at Lower Cove terminal. Merry Christmas ...
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youtu.be/j7RsRnYlz7I ...
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youtu.be/vMnWK6apliQ ...
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vimeo.com/368609364 ...
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This was an amazing dance brought by the Taiwanese Opera ...
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Chaplain visits port in Taiwan during ICMA world conference ...
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As the port Chaplain at Montreal I have visited this ship Maersk Patras on Monday evening when she birthed into the Cast terminal pier No 77. The Agent and other officials were also present. The Immigration and the Police investigations were on until late night. The Seafarers were in shock of the incident of the Sri Lankan missing Seafarer falling overboard. I had contacted the family members in Sri Lanka and passed the information. When I was trying to console them they were requesting for my prayers for their slim glimpse of hope of his survival. I had also contacted the Sri Lankan embassy in Ottawa and provided them the requested information’s to do the needful. I am also in contact with the ITF inspector. I think at this point for whatever is beyond our control we can pray. But we should be able to do all possible means to help to the family with their last resort of compensation for the loss of their son at work on board. The most saddest part of it is that he was the only Sri Lankan. He boarded the ship only ten days before. Celebrated his birthday on the 17th and fallen overboard on the 19th. ...
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Chaplain highlights 2019Ship visits 73. Seafarers transportation provided approx 189This last year has been a bit different for me as I took a sabbatical after I retired from the diocese of Fredericton where I had worked in parish ministry for about thirty years. Val and I finished up our duties for the parish, cleared out the Rectory in Renforth and then moved aboard our 36 foot sailboat, Tevah. On September 8th we sailed out of Saint John Harbour bound for the Bahamas. For about 8 months we traveled the atlantic coast, the Intercoastal waterway, crossed the gulf stream and explored the Bimini Islands, New Providence Island and The Exumas. We reached as far south as the Tropic of Cancer on Long island and then spend a good amount of time in Elizabeth Harbour and Georgetown in Great Exuma. Our return voyage was similar except for a stop in Nassau and three weeks in Vero Beach. Our boat waits for us now in Easton Maryland until summer arrives fully in the North Atlantic. Being on a boat for 8 months gave me a perspective that was valuable as a Chaplain to seafarers. I have now experienced something of that your average seafarer knows well; 8 months away from home on a boat. While many parts of what we did are vastly different than a commercial seafarer there were some similarities. We could not rely on getting everything we wanted at any particular port of call. If we got fuel there might not be a cell phone signal. If we had great wifi there there might not be an accessible grocery store. If we had a great save place to anchor the boat there might now be a place to actually get to shore. We certainly developed an awareness to do some research before we arrived in any place to make a list of all the services that might be there and what we could actually access. Often there was some kind of time pressure on us as well and we would need to leave without getting everything on our list. We learned quickly to buy three times what we normally would as it might take us three more stops to find it again.I was please to have sailed into Port Everglades and have a tour of the port and the Seafarers centre there. We anchored in a fine little basin surrounded by condos and were able to call an uber and locate the Centre. This was not an easy feat as the listing was not correct and when we finally did get to the right place the Uber driver had difficulty getting the right driveway. I can only imagine what seafarers go through in each different port to find our centres. Once when in Vancouver I was greatly impressed by little flying angels signs with arrows pointing the way. These bread crumbs were very welcome! I will put that on my list of things to do and will also create some kind of digital trail that is easy to follow.Jason Zuidema (NAMMA) was good enough to invite me to come across to a Seafarers Welfare conference in Tampa after he noticed I was only three hours away, anchored in Vero Beach. We borrowed a vehicle and traveled across the pan handle and were delighted to see many folks we had met before. During this meeting I was able to also connect with the Bishop of the Bahamas and follow up with a meeting that I had with him while in the Bahamas. I saw no sign of seafarers welfare work while in Nassau and he was able to confirm sadly that he know of none either.We also visited a number of major ports along the way that gave me insight into the complexity of some of the large commercial places. Talking with the lone chaplain in Tampa Bay confirmed my suspicions that larger ports are underserved just because of how spread out they are. One or two chaplains would never be able to cover all the ground adequate. We have to do better than this. We sailed through or stayed in Portland, New York, Norfolk, Georgetown, Charleston, Wilmington, Port Everglades, Miami, and Nassau. Every port has unique challenges from the point of view of the seafarers and from the seafarers welfare organization's perspective. What is needed is creativity and imagination that springs from experience and knowledge. I believe in this technologically advanced age we live in there are many solutions that are as yet untapped. Ship visiting will always be required but there is much more that we are able to do today if we correctly utilize technology. This will involve risk but the alternative (just doing the same thing we have been doing) will become less and less effective. ...
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St Michael’s Paternoster Royal is the home of the Mission to Seafarers. Val and I had a chance to visit here last week and have a cup of tea with Andrew Wright the General Secretary. ...
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We are looking for some very specific kinds of Volunteers. Here is a list. If you find that you are drawn to one of these please contact Bev or Eric1 website designer and editor2 mission outpost decorator and maintainer3 ship visitor 4 seafarer transportation5 station hostThere is more information and training that goes with each of these. A volunteer based mission sometimes is a very careful balance. We are looking for crew! ...
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As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared the novel coronavirus COVID-19 a global pandemic. Port Saint John (“PSJ”) welcomes foreign seafarers from around the globe arriving aboard vessels entering the port. Recognizing the real potential for inadvertent transmission, we have taken the proactive step of suspending the physical operations of the Mission – both at its Tilley Road location and in respect of visits onboard vessels by the seafarers’ Chaplain. This precaution is taken out of concern for all involved, and to minimize the risk of exposure to our staff and volunteers and in turn the general public. During this period, the Mission will make contact information for the Mission’s Manager and Chaplain available to seafarers and ships’ agents and PSJ. We do so to allow the Mission to continue its operations remotely and/or to assist those in need. We will continue to monitor the situation and take such measures as directed by the authorities to ensure that we can open the doors to our physical location and resume aboard – ship operations as soon as advisable.