Mission to Seafarers: Open to everyone from November 4
By Sue Dight
We have all been released from lockdown after many months of doing the right thing. Imagine if your lockdown was coming up to 17 months, and you have no idea when you might see your home or family again.
There are sailors in this situation right now, crews of men and women who deliver every- thing for us (including the coffee beans that make Melbourne such a special place to be).
Australian maritime laws help prevent sea- farers’ isolation most of the time, by detaining and banning ships, but if you’re too scared to speak up, what happens then?
To help with this issue, our service provides crew with someone to speak to in confidence. It might be via WhatsApp, or Facebook, or text messaging late into the night, we have one of our team on standby to help.
Shore leave grants crew members a few hours to rest and relax away from their dangerous and constant work; think sinking ships, bad weather and pirates (who carry AK47’s, not parrots on their shoulders).
There has been no shore leave in Melbourne since the start of this pandemic, and there will be none for the foreseeable future, while there are still border restrictions in place.
The Mission has been taking care of the seafarers by shopping for them (there is no click-and-collect in the middle of the ocean), by arranging for families to receive their pay (so they don’t go hungry at home), and by making sure they have books, beanies and a few treats (thanks to donations by Good360.org.au, Rotary Prahan, and our supporters).
The annual Maritime Art Prize fundraiser went online this year, and everyone can vote in the VICT People’s Choice for their favourite work - https://gallery.missiontoseafarers.com.au/ .
A special congratulations to Rodney Forbes who took out the overall prize. Tickets are still available for the raffle, which includes prizes such as a $2500 hospitality package at the Mission, or a trip out to see the big ships with a Port Philip Sea Pilot.
However, even though the seafarers can’t visit the Mission right now, you certainly can! From Wednesday, November 4, we will reopen. You can now grab a beer, wine or coffee and
sit in the best beer garden in Melbourne, or in our Spanish-styled courtyard, to enjoy the freedoms we have once again. We are planning a summer series of music to ensure you have a good time outdoors in a COVID-safe way. Tables for catch-ups indoors or out can be booked by emailing [email protected] com.au, or just drop in.
As you do enjoy the newly-renovated spaces you will be supporting the crews by making sure the Mission is ready for them when they are able to again enjoy shore leave. If you have always wondered what is behind the facÌ§ade, do come in, we are open to everyone.