Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

'Tis the Season


Being at sea can be lonely, and the holidays are especially tough. Fortunately, sailors on the west coast are served by seafarer's centers that care for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.

Although varying in denomination, something they all have in common is the emotional and spiritual support they offer to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in centers and a range of welfare and emergency support services.

Most offer transportation services to and from the ship, as well as into town for shopping trips. The facilities all have internet access, computers and WiFi, and offer phone cards and telephones to allow seafarers to call home and speak to loved ones.

The centers also offer ship visits by clergy to offer counseling and perform

religious services.

Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarers

PO Box 2742

Seward, AK 99664

(907) 224-8482

The Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarers, a non-denominational faith mission, operates the Seward Seaman's Mission. The mission's primary work is with cruise ship personnel during the summer months, but they also visit cargo ships, fishing vessels, and hospitalized seafarers throughout the year, as well as provide food, clothing, and shelter during the winter.

The Seward mission provides Bibles and other materials to the men and women who stop by and visit, and offer phones so the seafarers can call home, wherever that may be. There's also a video library, music room, e-mail stations, barbeque, outdoor basketball court, and picnic deck. Last year the Alaska mission had 3,600 visitors in Seward and 1,400 in Whittier.

The Mission to Seafarers

3568 W. Marginal Way SW

Seattle, WA 98106

(206) 935-3439

The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) in Seattle is a branch of the worldwide organization that provides help and support to 1.5 million seafarers worldwide.

The center has phones and computers for the use of seafarers, and offers Wifi so they can use their own laptops. When seafarers are not allowed to leave their ship, the Mission visitors bring cell phones and low cost phone cards, and offer to do any necessary shopping for them.

The center hands out ditty bags for Christmas, consisting of essential toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant, along with knit hats, gloves and playing cards.

Effective earlier this year, MtS took over the duties of the Seattle Catholic

Seamen's Center.

Tacoma Seafarers' Center

1118 Port of Tacoma Road

Tacoma, WA 98421

(253) 272-0716

The Tacoma Seafarers' Center exists to minister to the seafarers' spiritual, physical and emotional needs in the Port of Tacoma. Chaplain Paul Peterson also puts together gifts for seafarers for the Holidays, and this year he hopes to place 1,500. The center has already given 400 to sailors aboard 17 vessels.

The Portland Seafarers Mission

Terminal 2

PO BOX 83603

Portland, OR 97283

(503) 283-8203

In Portland, Oregon, The Portland Seafarers Mission (PSM) provides services without partiality of race, religion, or economic or social condition. The mission provides spiritual, health and emergency support, and other needs that may arise.

Because of new security restrictions or for other reasons, seafarers who are not allowed to leave their ship, receive visits by PSM to offer friendship and to provide them with means of communicating with their families, to provide a worship experience when requested, and provide counseling, spiritual and emotional support.

Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate

International Maritime Center

Berth 40 / 4001 7th Street

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 893-3104

The Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate ministers to all that seek their services. The mission's heritage dates back to 1946 when Rev. Thorbjorn Olsen and his wife Tuppi came to San Francisco to establish the Scandinavian Seamen's Mission. The mission's religious heritage is rooted in the American Baptist Church.

The Ministry is an international, interdenominational, and completely autonomous ecumenical ministry that serves seafarers working on ships who come into the San Francisco Bay Area.

The International Maritime Center has a library and reading room, Friday night movies, television and pool table and email and internet access.

International Seafarers Center

120 Pico Ave

Long Beach, California 90802.

(562) 234-8742

The International Seafarers Center (ISC) of Long Beach/Los Angeles provides and maintains facilities and services for the recreational, personal, and cultural needs of merchant seamen calling at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles without regard to age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin.

The ISC offers a quiet chapel along with a variety of spiritual and non-spiritual literature in numerous languages. Regular volunteer Chaplains visit ships, pray for seafarers and offer fellowship, counseling and Bible study, as well as Sunday services and communion and Mass on board ships.

Stella Maris Seafarers Center

1760 Water Street

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 702-4703

In San Diego, Stella Maris Seafarers Center is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, aimed at serving the needs of seafarers who live and work at sea. The Apostleship of the Sea is the apostolic work of the Catholic Church caring for the spiritual, social, and material welfare of all Seafarers and Fishers regardless of color, race or creed. Stella Maris also offers advocacy for pay issues and visa problems.

Something else the seafarer's centers have in common is an urgent need for donations and support. Some people can be hard to shop for- in this case, a check to your local seafarer's center is always the right fit.


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