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MPs celebrate Sailors’ Society 200th anniversary

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and Stuart Rivers Sailors Society CEO

MPs, members of the House of Lords and special guests helped mark the 200th anniversary of international maritime charity Sailors’ Society, which is supported by WesCom Signal and Rescue.

Sailors Society held a reception at the UK parliament to mark 200 years of support for seafarers and their families around the world, which was also attended by industry representatives.

The charity provides practical, emotional and spiritual welfare support to the world’s 1.6million seafarers, regardless of background or faith. Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors have a presence in 91 global ports, with wider projects and services covering 30 countries.

The event was hosted by MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan, who gave a warm welcome to guests, including Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, and the Shadow Shipping Minister Karl Turner MP. 

Penny Mordaunt MP says, “It was great to hear about the care and support Sailors’ Society has provided to seafarers in need over the past 200 years, such as working to help seafarers look after their mental health during the long contracts at sea and supporting their families back at home in times of crisis.”

The event was also attended by Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Mental Health, who recently heard about the charity’s Wellness at Sea programme, which was sponsored by WesCom, and talked to seafarers about conditions on board ship.

Kim Spooner, whose aunt and uncle lost their lives in the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, spoke movingly about her family’s experience and the support they have received from Sailors’ Society over the years.

A video case study from Sailors’ Society’s Albanian port chaplain, Ilir Cami, highlighted why seafarers are often reluctant to be open about health problems for fear of losing their job, and the sometimes tragic consequences of this.

Sailors’ Society’s CEO Stuart Rivers says, “We’re so grateful for the support we receive from our corporate partners, which makes so much of what we do possible. MPs also have a long history of supporting the charity’s work – very appropriately, our first Chairman was Bernard Shaw MP.

“However, being 200 years old doesn’t mean we can sit back on our laurels, and we continue to change and adapt in order to better support the men and women who play such an important role in transporting our goods at sea.” 

Sailors’ Society was founded on 18 March 1818 to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers returning home from the Napoleonic Wars.

The charity now works in 30 countries around the world, supporting seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea, through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.

Following the sponsorship of the Wellness at Sea Conference, Sailors’ Society ambassador, Chris Feibusch, WesCom Signal and Rescue’s Director of Global Marketing and Communications, says, “As a brand, we feel very strongly about the topic. WesCom and Sailors’ Society share many moral and ethical approaches to seafarer welfare and safety at sea, so it’s a natural affiliation.”

During the conference, Chris pledged his support and commitment to help spread the important messages from the conference and the fantastic work Sailors’ Society is doing.

 “The wellbeing of our seafarers is of vital importance and it is shocking to see such negative stats of these professionals at sea. It is a shared responsibility to ensure they have the understanding, skills, and tools required to be fully prepared at sea, as well as the space to talk confidently about any worries they may have. At WesCom, we will continue to support Sailors’ Society in its ongoing mission to improve the welfare of seafarers around the world.”

The main image shows the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and Stuart Rivers, Sailors’ Society Chief Executive Officer.

Jun 21, 2018