Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Christmas List


December 1, 2018

Christmas is coming. What do you give the mariner who has everything? We’ll answer that later. All along the west coast, ships are calling during the holidays with foreign sailors who are far from home. A more important question is what do you give the mariner who has very little?

How about free cellphone or wireless Internet use. Access to email? Phone cards?

Maybe access to shipboard worship or spiritual counseling and prayer?

Also welcome is transportation to churches and shopping areas.

Even something as simple as a bar of soap, deodorant and toothpaste can be a relief.

You don’t have the bandwidth to provide most or any of this, but the seafarer’s relief centers do, and they’re especially busy this time of year. They could use your help.

Alaskan Ports

Santa’s closest port is Seward, Alaska, which is home to Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarers ( ), who provide a home-like setting to crewmembers from ships (principally cruise ships) that dock at the Seward port. Crewmembers can take advantage of the Mission’s fast and inexpensive WiFi, purchase phone cards, shoot baskets, attend worship services and enjoy free lunches and fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies.

The Ministry to Seafarer’s work in Anchorage consists mainly of work onboard ships and transporting seafarers to local retail outlets to purchase goods for their life on ships. The Anchorage staff also heads up the mission’s work in Whittier with the assistance of some of the staff and volunteers in Seward when they are available.

Seattle and Worldwide

Around the world, including in Seattle (, the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) provides help and support to 1.5 million men and women who keep the global economy afloat. MTS offers practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in seafarers’ centers and a range of welfare and emergency support services.

Throughout a long and distinguished history, the Mission to Seafarers has grown to become one of the largest port-based welfare operators in the world, providing a service in 200 ports, 365 days a year, across 50 countries.

The Columbia River

After many months at sea, hard-working seafarers like to relax for a few hours or do some needed shopping. The Fort Vancouver Seafarers Center ( offers crews transportation and communications services, as well as a place to just relax.

The Portland Seafarers Mission ( is committed to being a visible and public manifestation of the love of God by providing spiritual, health, emergencies, contact to authorities, and other needs that may arise. Chaplains go on board to offer seamen friendship and to provide them with means of communicating with their families, to provide a worship experience when requested, to provide counseling, spiritual and emotional support individually, and seek to make them feel welcomed and among friends in port.

San Francisco Bay Area

Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate (, founded in San Francisco in 1946 as the Scandinavian Seamen’s Mission, responds to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of seafarers and port workers in San Francisco Bay.

The ministry is located in the Port of Oakland where the chaplain visits seafarers on ship, provides communication resources such as Internet and phone cards. The ministry also welcomes visitors to the International Maritime Center, a place of sanctuary for seafarers away from the ship where they can call home, play games, visit with volunteers, or catch a ride to local shopping.

San Pedro Bay

The International Seafarers Center of Long Beach/Los Angeles ( ) provides facilities and services for the recreational, personal, and cultural needs of merchant seamen calling at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, providing “a home away from home,” including temporary housing, ministry and communications and transportation services.

There are no doubt other seafarer’s centers along the west coast and this is by no means a comprehensive list. We encourage you to find one and help them out for the holidays. They can use donations of products or just cash.

What to give the mariner who has everything? A copy of this page.

Merry Christmas!

Chris can be reached at


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