Port news: Recommencing ship visits and training new volunteers in Rotterdam

31st May 2022

“As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease in the Netherlands, The Mission to Seafarers can recommence ship visits and train new volunteers, but shore leave limitations remain.” Revd Dennis Woodward shares updates from Rotterdam on how seafarers are navigating limited time ashore.

Though COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted in the Netherlands, many seafarers are still not being granted shore leave by their shipping companies. As a result, the Seafarer Centre in Schiedam is still closed after two years. However, MtS is continuing to carry out ship visits to offer seafarers support even when they are unable to leave their vessels. In some cases, the MtS team was able to stay for lunch and listen, respond and deliver spiritual and pastoral support to the seafarers.

MtS is dedicated to ensuring seafarers have some creature comforts despite not being able to go ashore. This month, this included handing out woolly hats to seafarers on chemical tankers docked at Service Terminal Rotterdam and providing free Lyca Mobile SIM cards. Connectivity is critical for seafarers to stay in contact with their family and loved ones – especially now, when they don’t have access to seafarer centres and support on land. The MtS team was able to deliver this much-needed connectivity lifeline to seafarers, who were incredibly grateful.

The team are also considering new projects that can benefit seafarers docking at Landtong in Rozenburg, which is in the middle of the Port of Rotterdam and is miles away from shops or parks. MtS is looking at placing rental bikes in this area, to make it easier for seafarers to visit Rozenburg, do some shopping and cycle back to their vessel. There are still some details to iron out, but MtS is keen to start the pilot for this project during summer 2022.

The MtS team also hosted photographer Leander Varekamp and reporter Linda van der Klooster for a project they’re working on, celebrating 150 years since the Niuewe Waterweg was dug. The project will see canvas portraits of seafarers placed along the Nieuewe Waterweg alongside QR codes that can be scanned to find out more about their story.

As well as recommencing ship visits, The Mission to Seafarers Rotterdam has been pleased to begin training new ship visitor volunteers. Providing in-person support and being able to break bread with seafarers is crucial to their welfare, especially as they still have limited shore leave. We will continue to offer seafarers care, support and assistance and look forward to the Schiedam Seafarer Centre re-opening soon.

Sign up to our Newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.