Just another Monday…

Or is it? 

We all look for the exciting, for something new or a special event. This, in my experience, rarely happens!

Last week was another week with more amazing and fantastic highlights to share… and some ordinary things too!

But first, looking back, here is a picture of my earlier visit to Shmu Radio! 

DJ Howard?
DJ Howard?

This takes me back to the days when I use to do some DJ work with Jasper (not Carrott!) in my late teens at the local community centre and a few pubs and night clubs as well! 

I do not think I will be returning to those days anytime soon, but it was fun to be miked up again and my thanks to Mike and Lady Gadah for having me on their excellent show.

So last week – our exciting news was that it was a fairly routine week! However, there were a couple of exceptions.

Not so Good News.

We can no longer recycle toner cartridges. The last ones we sent (a Euro pallet) raised just £24.50. This makes it unviable to store all the toners for 3 months and then shipping them to the recycling company. I am really thankful for the great support that Seletar Logistics an Thistle Couriers have given on supporting these efforts, but as I said, it just wasn’t worth doing anymore.    

Good News! 

We were able to sell the 82 new toner cartridges we received that were going in the skip. One of my volunteers, Cara, did all the hard work and got a terrific price for them! Anyone want to guess how much we received? This is dangerous, but the closest guess to reach me by my next post will get a free Aberdeen Seafarers Centre baseball cap. 

So if your company changed their laser printers and you have unused toners, donating them to Aberdeen Seafarers Centre can raise a significant chunk of cash to support seafarers. 

Ordinary News!

seacabThere has been the routine stuff going on and plenty of happy moments! Ship visits continue and a bit of banter with the lads who had just been transported by Ricky Greenhowe on the Sea Cab from their vessel anchored in the bay on their way home. He took this picture.

It was wonderful to be onboard the Malaviya Seven when the RC Bishop of Aberdeen along with Port Chaplain Doug Duncan visited.  I’ll update with pictures when I get them from Doug’s photographer in due course. After half an hour of good banter in the mess with the whole crew, I left them to enjoy lunch onboard followed by a service conducted by the Bishop.

Our Administrator is settling in well and is a real help to me. How did I survive for so long without her! 

Several useful meetings took place last week and it is always good to be welcomed by the staff of the various companies that support Aberdeen Seafarers Centre on an ongoing basis. Keep up the good work! It has been another tough year for them as well as seafarers in general and listening to their views over a coffee is never wasted time and helps to keep things in perspective. If I haven’t visited recently – get in touch – always happy to give an update of what is happening at the Seafarers Centre!

Home visits too…I spent over 2 hours with one widow of a retired seafarer  told me that I had made her day. “He used to talk about the sea too and the family don’t know that side of him. Talking with you made it better,” she said to me.

We are here for all seafarers – those intending to go to sea, those at sea and those retired from the sea – along with their families too! Do get in touch of you know someone who might appreciate a visit for a chat… sadly, in these PC days, I no longer get referrals from hospital or other agencies and as I have said many times, I do get frustrated at meeting many retired seafarers for the first time at the crematorium when it is too late to help them. 

There are a lot of vessels at anchor just now – 11 listed on the harbour website, but there are many others outwith the harbour limits – well over 20… signs of the continuing poor market conditions. Surely 2017 will see some improvements? We live in hope!

We received the certificates for those volunteers who completed the Fire Marshalling training course… so any seafarers visiting will be safely escorted out of the building in the unlikely event of their being a fire!

If you would like to volunteer one day a month for a few hours, please do get in touch and we can chat over a coffee and see what you can do to enhance the welfare of all seafarers. 

Back to some paperwork now – working on a business plan; sorting out publicity for the Sea-Shed and arranging finances (90% agreed) and other necessary things associated with the running of the Seafarers Centre. 

I best get on… hope you have a totally amazing week – or just an ordinary one! 

With every good wish

Howard ><>

FOOTNOTE:

As promised, here are the pictures of the visit to the Malaviya Seven along with an article in the Energy Voice

 

The Malaviya Seven
The Malaviya Seven
On the Bridge
On the Bridge

Bishop Hugh Gilbert with the stranded crew of Malaviya Seven

Written by Jon Hebditch –

 

 

A group of Indian sailors, who have been stranded in the north-east for more than five months, have received a special blessing from the Bishop of Aberdeen.

The Malaviya Seven, a supply boat owned by Indian company GOL Offshore, was originally stopped in June after claims that staff had not received their wages for months while working in the North Sea.

The Mumbai-registered vessel, which was chartered by BP in the first half of June, was allowed to leave the harbour in August after a pay deal was settled.

But it returned to the Granite City last month and was detained again by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Life aboard the ship for the Indian sailors has proved increasingly dreary with precious few home comforts at their disposal.

But in response, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert OSB, working with the Apostleship of the Sea charity, paid a special visit to the suffering seamen.

In the Messroom
And in the Messroom

The Bishop said: “Our port chaplain, Doug Duncan of the Apostleship of the Sea, arranged for me to visit the vessel. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with the crew, bless the vessel and share a meal on board.

“Though the situation will remain tense until justice has been done, it was clear the efforts of the Apostleship of the Sea and others on behalf of the crew were much appreciated. Gratitude and good humour were evident.”

The charity has been supporting them in various ways, including providing warm clothing with jackets and fleeces being provided by parishioners throughout the diocese.

Toiletries have also been provided by staff of the Stroke Unit in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).

Mr Duncan said: “It’s an anxious and stressful time for the crew, but having someone from AoS they know and trust to support them makes a difference.

“The AoS have made all crew members feel part of their family during this difficult time, where they have enjoyed visits out of the port environment, and also attended the Russian Choir performance in St Peters in Aberdeen and the crowning of the statue.

“At present, the crew have enough water, fuel for heating and food on board the vessel.

“Hopefully, we are nearing a solution to this dreadful experience.”

 

Aberdeen Seafarers Centre has been heavily involved for many years in the welfare of the crew, however, with the vessels detentions, the need for our continued support has been heightened and we have sought to be sensitive to their needs, giving supplies of food, milk, toiletries, excursions, free phone cards enabling 500 minutes a month to each crew member to call home to their family and friends, as well as the gift of a week’s salary for the Festival of Diwali.

The crew have made extensive use of the facilities of the Seafarers Centre on a daily basis, including pool, table tennis, books, CD’s and DVD’s, second-hand clothes and of course our free superfast broadband.

But it is those who so generously give to the Centre that enables us to bless these unfortunate seafarers who are in a difficult place through no fault of their own. Without the ongoing support of local Churches, businesses and individuals, we could not continue the vital work we do! Thank you each and every one of you.

Thanks are also due to our team of volunteers who man the Centre, do ship visits and 101 other things that go unseen.  

Time for bed! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *