We are a volunteer organization that supports the needs of Seafarers that visit the Port of Saint John. We are associated with a number of seafarer welfare organizations around the world. We depend on gifts and donations from individuals, churches, organizations, and local businesses.
We provide free internet access at the Mission Centre. Free internet is also available at the potash terminal and the oil terminals in Courtenay Bay.
3 months ago
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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
Chaplain highlights 2019
Ship visits 73. Seafarers transportation provided approx 189
This 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. ...
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 Eric
1 website designer and editor
2 mission outpost decorator and maintainer
3 ship visitor
4 seafarer transportation
5 station host
There 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! ...
Seafarers bring us 90% of everything we use. When thinking about your charitable giving remember your local Seafarers Mission. These young men visit our city in the hundreds on a regular basis. The Saint John Seafarers Mission provides Transportation, communication, general welfare assistance and meets spiritual needs.
While traveling this winter we had the opportunity to visit the Seafarers Center in Port Everglades and Tampa. ...