The Liverpool Seafarers Centre (LSC) has staged a ‘special access’ tour for the High Sheriff of Merseyside on the banks of the river Mersey.
High Sheriff Peter Woods received exclusive access to the inner workings of the ecumenical voluntary organisation after joining a ‘ship visiting’ exercise at North Dock.
John Wilson, the CEO of LSC, said the High Sheriff boarded MV Predator, a bulk carrier vessel, for a day-in-the-life experience working alongside the charity’s team members, who offer support to 50,000 seafarers passing through the Port of Liverpool each year.
Formed in 2008, the charity is a partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers, and it now has the backing of many other cross-denominational faiths and organisations.
Wilson said of the High Sheriff’s visit: ‘The ship-visiting exercise in particular showcased our seafarer welfare support programme in action with on-board visits central to our entire operation. This direct, face-to-face communication is fundamental to our mission to provide “a lifeline” to seafarers. The High Sheriff was able to witness how we deliver our care package from boosting morale to managing more sensitive issues.
‘Our outreach service is focused on delivering practical and emotional support. This includes support for “major life events” such as a family bereavement, trauma, marriage, divorce or the birth of a child. We also act as a go-between and can talk to the ship management company if there are problems to ensure seafarers are being properly cared for. On a practical level we provide a variety of support including access to WiFi, money exchange and a physical base on land where crew can take a break from the vessel.’
The High Sheriff said: ‘It was a fascinating experience joining Liverpool Seafarers Centre for the day and witnessing the valuable service they provide. The tour put into perspective the scale of the challenge at hand to deliver care to a large and often invisible workforce which toils on the oceans. The work of Liverpool Seafarers Centre and its volunteers is highly commendable and is vital in ensuring the Port of Liverpool maintains its reputation as a friendly and caring port.’