Walvis Bay, Namibia seafarer centre as it currently stands opened in the year 2000 and was funded by the ITF (The International Transport Workers’ Federation). Seafarers are often taken aback by how developed the centre is, and often spend evenings making use of the facilities.
The upstairs was converted into a conference and training centre through a generous donation from Namsov in an effort to raise ongoing funds. In addition to this, the centre also offers a takeaway service for local businesses as a form of fundraising.
Over the years, centre manager Gail has seen seafarers regularly come back to the centre and grow throughout their career, which contributes as a significant part of the fond memories she has amassed over the years. During the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Gail recalls sitting with Japanese seafarers to support and show solidarity while they were helpless during a time of devastation in their home country. Thus, serving as a reminder of the important role the centre and its staff play in the lives of seafarers while away from their families.
Despite the valuable service it provides, the centre has seen a decline in the number of seafarers visiting since 2010 along with business due to a new berth being opened 5KM away, discouraging seafarers from making the long trip to the centre.
For a tour of the Walvis Bay Seafarers Centre, click here to watch the International Port Welfare Partnership Programme’s recent video.