Sir Desmond Swayne MP visited Southampton docks with local maritime charity Sailors’ Society to meet seafarers and hear about the charity's work.
The New Forest West MP said: “Southampton port is a crucial part of our local economy, but most people don’t think about the 600,000 seafarers each year who pass through it and keep trade moving.
“Working at sea and spending months away from family can be incredibly tough – so it is great to see Sailors’ Society welcoming seafarers to the city and helping them to stay in touch with their loved ones.”
Sailors’ Society’s advocacy manager Jon Foster said: “It was a pleasure to show Sir Desmond around and tell him about our work. We met seafarers from China, Turkey, Russia and the Philippines who gave him an idea of what life on ship is like, as well as wanting to chat about the World Cup.”
Sir Desmond also visited Sailors’ Society’s Seafarers’ Centre on East Street, which is run by a committed team of staff and volunteers. Seafarers visiting the city can take time and relax away from the busy port environment at the centre, which is designed to feel like a home away from home. They can also access free Wi-Fi in order to contact loved ones back home.
Sailors’ Society was founded on 18 March 1818 to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers returning home from the Napoleonic Wars.
Earlier this year it celebrated its 200th anniversary with a service at Southwark Cathedral.
Based in Woolston, the charity works in 30 countries around the world and aims to transform the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.