Yes, the working week is almost over – well for landlubbers at least. The majority of people work 9-5, Monday to Friday – yes, I know that some folks work at other times – some, according to rumours, only work one day a week – on a Sunday – lucky Vicars/Preachers/Pastors… If only!
But what about the 1.2 million seafarers who work 7 days a week, doing 12 hour shifts, many for up to 9 months at a time (some are still doing longer trips!)
Even in the highly regulated North Sea where time onboard has been limited to 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off for many years, some are increasing that to a 6 weeks rotation – one vessel telling me that the company were doubling the time onboard to 8 weeks on and 8 weeks off.
Whether that is good or not is another matter… Fatigue will play an increasing role I am sure. but the bottom line is that seafarers will not have the ‘weekend off’ to relax and spend time with family and loved ones – to have a drink or do whatever it is that we do at weekends.
Seafarers face a lot of hardships, but most of all is the pain of separation. That is why we seek to enable all seafarers to communicate home for as little cost as possible. Free Skype calls, both audio and video are free to all visitors to the Centre using our 10 PC’s or using their laptops. iPads or smart phones via the free wifi and our superfast broadband connection of up to 78 Mb download and 20 Mb upload!
The facilities we offer include much more and there is more information on our official web page: www.aseafarer.com
But there are good things happening too… I was walking the dog on Monday morning and caught a lovely sunrise at Girdleness Lighthouse…
Monday was a busy day at the harbour and an evening spent with Light Offshore Christian Fellowship where we shared a study on Psalm 22 together and then prayed for all involved in the offshore industry, for seafarers and the Seafarers Centre.
Here you can see them relaxing afterwards playing pool.
That evening we had an excellent meeting with LOCF.. but more importantly, the centre was busy with guys of various vessels. One Filipino was delighted to receive a hair clipper set – for FREE – he told me, “I can cut the guys hair onboard and I will be very popular with the rest of crew!
Those on the MV UAL RODACH, which had come from Antwerp, were having such a great time skyping that I kept the centre open until after 2300… It is such a blessing to see the smiles on these guys faces as they communicate with home.
Tuesday saw the meeting of the local Port Welfare Committee. The CEO of the MNWB attended and the Chair of Trustees of Aberdeen Seafarers Centre was elected as chairman of the committee succeeding my very good friend Murray Campbell OBE. He was presented with a certificate marking his service. Murray has just become a Chaplain with the Sailors Society covering from Inverness to Peterhead! Who says that Chaplain’s retire???
Wednesday was another busy day… too much to include everything, but the one thing that stood out for me was the Fire Marshal Training which took place immediately after a good Advisory Committee meeting. Eight of us did the training which was very helpful and enjoyed by all. The highlight of the training was the practical part conducted outside in the dark!! Here are a couple of pictures…
And now Thursday is almost over… more meetings – more paperwork. I did have a welcome visitor – 2 members of the Mither Kirk popped in to drop off some woolly hats.
Soon it will be time to begin the Christmas Parcel Wrapping!! Yep, it’s that time again! I am just waiting on the contents for the gifts that have been ordered to arrive – we shall be starting early next month! Anyone got any spare Christmas paper? They are not selling it yet in ASDA or Poundland! :o)
That’s all for now.