Seafarers visiting the port of Montrose will arrive to a warm welcome with the opening of a new centre for seafarers.
Run by maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society, the quayside centre will offer ships' crews a place to find help while on long contracts away from home.
Affectionately known as The Cabin, it will provide its visitors with 24 hour secure access to free internet facilities, local information, magazines, books and warm clothing for those unprepared for the cooler Scottish climes.
Sailors’ Society’s local chaplain, Peter Donald, and volunteer ship visitor Mike Burleigh, who reached out to to more than 7,000 seafarers arriving in Dundee and Montrose ports last year, are also on hand to offer transport, personal help and counsel.
The Cabin replaces Montrose Seafarers’ Centre (MSC) at The Haven, a combined venture between local churches and several maritime welfare charities, which has ceased to run after eight years supporting thousands of seafarers.
Sailors’ Society’s deputy CEO, Sandra Welch, who officially opened the centre, said: “The Cabin will provide a secure and comfortable environment for seafarers to take respite, receive welfare support and make that all important call home after months away at sea. Thousands of seafarers benefitted from this service in the past and we are really pleased to continue to offer this support in our great new port location.”
The opening ceremony included a prayer and blessing for the ongoing work by local minister Rev Geoff Redmayne and was followed by a reception at the Links Hotel, sponsored by vessel agents Kinnes Shipping Ltd.
Sandra spoke about developments being introduced by Sailors' Society around the world for the welfare of seafarers and their families and the Society's ongoing commitment to maintain and expand the care offered at ports like Montrose. She expressed her appreciation of the invaluable support that Peter and his team have enjoyed from the local community, which she hoped will continue into the new phase of the work.
Michael Wheat, chairman of the Montrose Seafarers’ Centre (MSC) committee, conveyed the best wishes and prayers of his committee for the future and presented a cheque on behalf of MSC to the Society.
Peter Donald said: “We really appreciate the way in which the Montrose community has taken strangers to its heart. I’ve been told many stories by seafarers of the kindness and hospitality they have received here in comparison to some of the bigger ports where they often feel lonely and unsafe in strange surroundings.”
Peter welcomes donations of warm clothing, books, CDs, and woolly hats to enhance the ministry of Sailors' Society in Montrose and can be contacted via [email protected].