The Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV)

We welcome all seafarers to our Victorian shores

The Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV) advocates that the provision of welfare services works to reduce the likelihood of seafarer fatigue, improves seafarers’ wellbeing and in doing so plays a vital role in shipping.

SEAFARERS’ WELFARE

The Flying Angel Club, as it is known to seafarers, operates daily from 10am – 10pm

It provides essential and extended services that include:

On-shore facilities such as

  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Local information and referrals
  • Personal supplies
  • Recreational activities

Extended services include:

  • Pastoral care
  • Ship visiting

Advocacy supporting seafarers’ welfare:

  • Spiritual wellbeing of seafarers
  • Mental wellbeing of seafarers
  • Corporate social responsibility

Although conditions on board ships have improved considerably since the 1800s, loneliness and separation from loved ones will always have an uncanny way of tearing the heart and the very nature of living in the workplace continues to subject seafarers to long working hours, fatigue and associated risk to physical and mental wellbeing.

A six-year study of over 1800 seafarers by the Cardiff Research Programme, commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and published in November 2006, found that Seafarers’ Fatigue was widespread and posed a significant threat to seafarers’ wellbeing.

The major findings were:

  • One in four seafarers said they had fallen asleep while on watch;
  • Almost 50% of seafarers taking part in the study reported working weeks of 85 hours or more;
  • Around half said their working hours had increased over the past 10 years, despite new regulations intended to combat fatigue;
  • Almost 50% of seafarers taking part in the study consider their working hours present a danger to their personal safety;
  • Some 37% said their working hours sometimes posed a danger to the safe operations of their ship;
  • Many reported that they had worked to the point of collapse and fallen asleep at the wheel and over half of the sample believed that their personal safety was at risk because of fatigue.

At the Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV) we provide a safe place for rest and relaxation and a friendly welcome, friendship and counsel in times of need.

Some seafarers stories

How Alfredo Came To “See the World”

Alfredo Anonuevo 32 years of age is a second officer of the Kite Arrow and comes from Luzon in the Southern Philippines. MTSV volunteer Harry Webb enjoyed a conversation he had with Alfredo, who has three brothers and two sisters at home. Alfredo shared with Harry his early ambition to “see the world” which launched him into a sea career, during which he has sailed to every continent over the past 11 years.

On board, he’s a keen karaoke singer and movie watcher, his favourite being “Forest Gump”. Alfredo shared his appreciation of the Mission to Seafarers as his source for relaxation from ship life and facilities offered to communicate with his family.

Rare Holiday Experience for Ken Hou Crew

Rare Holiday Experience for Ken Hou Crew

The Portland Mission recently offered seafarers the rare opportunity of a real holiday, compared with the few hours usually available with today’s fast ship turnarounds.

The timber carrier Ken Hou had loaded her cargo of export softwood logs for China and had to be fumigated before sailing, which meant that the crew had to be taken from the vessel for a specified time.

The ship’s agents contacted the Mission to help transport crew from the ship and due to poor weather the fumes did not disperse that day opening the opportunity for hospitality Portland style.

Accommodation was arranged and the next day the Captain graciously agreed to take up the offer of a crew outing and luncheon at a local café for the 17 Filipino crew. After lunch they enjoyed a visit to the local fauna park, seeing a kangaroos and emus for the first time, a thrill for them and delight for Mission volunteers to share. Later, they were taken on a tour of Portland sights including the plant where wind towers are manufactured.

The following day, the crew travelled to Port Fairy to join one of Australia’s premier folk festivals with many international artists as well as locals appearing at different venues, and loads of free entertainment, stalls, shopping, giftware, buskers.

Arriving just on lunch time, the crew chose good old Aussie hamburger and for the afternoon soaked up the festival atmosphere. It was another great day shared before heading back to the vessel and back to work. Just before the ship sailed out of Portland, bound for Inchon Korea. Her master sent a message to the Mission:

“We wish to thank you and the Mission to Seafarers for your sincere mission and kindest generosity for the seafarers. We are happy and had quelled our thirst for home! Thank you very much and God Bless Us All!”

M/V KEN HOU,

Capt. R.D. Soriano/Officers/Engrs/All Crew

A home away from home…

Mission volunteer Bill Romney opened the doors of the Melbourne Flying Angel Club at 10am and shortly afterward, Bosun Antonio Nuguit arrived from the E.R. Wilhelmshaven, having just come from a dental appointment.

Antonio hails from Manila and has been at sea for 21 years. Bill helped Antonio to download the images onto the computer to email to his wife and during the days conversations via phone and internet Bill was introduced to Antonio’s wife on webcam.

This seafarer travels a 42 day Melbourne to Melbourne route via Sydney, Tauranga (NZ), Fiji, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Auckland. He shared with Bill his anxiety between opportunities to call his family. Antonio explained how in the earlier days seafarers would have to wait for an agent to bring mail to the ship at the various ports.

Antonio looks forward to coming to Melbourne with its “friendly atmosphere and people”. Antonio was still happily using the internet at 6pm that evening when Bill was heading home.