News

Seafarers left out in cold

20th April 2017

Our Immingham port chaplain Steve Willows sent us this narrative, which truly encapsulates what Apostleship of the Sea's ministry supporting seafarers is all about. 

             "On Tuesday 21st March, myself and Bryony (Watson) were called to come to the seafarers centre where we were met by two officers from Border Force and two seafarers. Earlier in the day Border Force were tipped off that there were two seafarers who would be flying home from the UK but they had not been made aware of it.
              "Border Force went to visit the fishing vessel that the seafarers were on to make sure they got their passports stamped so that they weren’t in this country illegally. When they got to the ship they were told by the captain that the two crew were waiting for their coach to London in the centre of Grimsby, so they went and found them waiting in the town centre with their suitcases.
              "They were taken to the office in Immingham where they got their passports stamped and it was then that the men found out that the coach they were getting was at 10 am the next day. The captain had told them that the ship needed to leave at 11pm and so he gave them £50 each and told them to go wait for their coach, basically abandoning them in the UK.
              "They left the ship at 11am and did not have a place to stay overnight so they would have been out in the cold for 23 hours waiting for their coach. They were also in the centre of Grimsby and staying there would have not been safe and something could have happened to them. 
AoS Immingham port chaplain Steve Willows with the seafarers who were left stranded
              "The two seafarers are from Sri Lanka and so our weather was very cold for them anyway. When we met them at the seafarers centre in Immingham we gave one of them a coat as he did not have one and gave them access to the internet and also a hot drink which they were very grateful for. 
              "Our local Justice and Peace group have a separate account for seafarers so they can help if possible. We got hold of a local hotel and booked two rooms with breakfast for the seafarers. They were so happy to have a room and to be able to stay warm rather than being on the street.
              "I met them in the morning to make sure they were ok and found the correct bus stop that they needed to be at. Because they needed some food for the journey I went and bought them some snacks. The coach arrived and they began their long journey back to Sri Lanka.
              "Again they were very thankful for what we could provide for them in the short space of time and were smiling as they left on their journey."

Well done Steve and thank you to the local Justice and Peace group for their kind assistance!