A Busy Time…

After the highs of the visit to the Peterhead FC v Annan Athletic and the ROV Christening, it was back to normal routine, not only for the Crew of the Malaviya Seven, but for me also. 

Plenty happening as ever, here is a sample of what I’ve been up to.

Besides the routine ship visits, I have had yet more speaking engagements around Aberdeen and beyond. A speaking engagement in Inverurie was a good visit – my third to these fine ladies who pray for me and knit woolly hats! 

I attended a meeting for Volunteer Coordinators. Very good networking and helpful insights gained. Interestingly, I was one of two men in a group of 20+ ladies! 

I had the privilege of being part of the Christening of Sentinel Marine’s new multi role ERRV, Mariner Sentinel. These are always great occasions and despite the rotten weather, it dried up in time for the ceremony. 

It was a busy Monday… started off with doing a visit to the Mariner Sentinel… great banter with the crew, then in the office doing prep for several things coming up… out to pick up 3 full black bags of woolly hats from the good folks at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, then I meet with the sister of a retired Chief Engineer whose funeral I will be conducting on Wednesday. Back to the center to finish of preparing for the Christening of the Mariner Sentinel – super vessel and great crew! Safe sailing Ivor… then onwards to visit a detained vessel – not the Malaviya Seven!! Yes, another vessel was detained, but thankfully only for 5 days! 

Tuesday was spent in meetings – the main one was the Merchant Navy Welfare Board’s Port Welfare Committee meeting held in Peterhead Port Authority’s office. A good turnout from the north and east with 26 attendees. 

Afterwards I popped into Peterhead FC’s offices to hand in a “THANK YOU” card from the crew of the Malaviya Seven to thank them for everything they did. There was a fair bit of banter and I did say that if I lived in Peterhead then I would come to their home games… and was told “You’ll have to pay!” 

I then attended the commissioning service for the Peterhead Fishermens’ Missions new facilities. Excellent facilities – which merchant seafarers can use as well! 

In the evening, I spent some quality time with my two friends, Drew and Peter, Chaplains for the Sailors Society. A lot of discussions were had about the way forward for Chaplaincy and other seafaring matters – and we had a great meal together followed by excellent coffee at Costa’s. Thereafter, I was taken to two hostelries where I enjoyed two half pints of fresh orange and lemonade! 

Wednesday I spent more time with drew before I finalised the service for the funeral of the Chief Engineer at 1300. 

Wednesday evening saw me in the Seafarers Centre at 2000 after a call from folks asking why the centre was closed! My volunteer obviously left early before the 2200 closing time? It’s handy living only a couple of minutes from the centre. Four more visitors came in that night – and it was raining too. I can but imagine the disappointment of these seafarers who had walked in the rain from their vessel to get access to our free facilities… 

We are always looking for more volunteers who can commit to manning the Centre. We especially need a new Key  Holder to volunteer one night a week…

If you would like to join our team of volunteers, do get in touch for more details.

Thursday was as busy as the previous days had been. Of course it was the day of the court hearing re the sale of the Malaviya Seven. I could not attend as I had four meetings arranged long ago that I could not get out of. I obviously head the outcome – good news for the lads and the ITF as the sale of the vessel has been agreed and half of the crew can go home. They found out on Monday when that would be – this Thursday (21st) with flights booked for six of the crew. It was well covered in the media – here is just one link to the news story:

BBC NEWS – M7

But the sale still has to happen and we await the outcome of this. Best guesstimate so far has been that it will be 8-10 weeks in completing everything and the remaining six will then head home, thereafter will the crew get their rightful wages.

After they go home, they will continue to need support… emotionally and psychologically, the events of the past 12-18 months will have impacted them in ways that they may not yet realise.

On one of my regular visits I was asked to have some food, I declined as my digestive system doesn’t cope well with their curries, but I was stumped when a sandwich from M&S was produced so I sat with Bamadev, the Chief Officer to enjoy his company!

Meanwhile, Aberdeen Seafarers Centre had to provide more fuel and an aviation fuel tank was sourced (for free) to store fuel shortening the delivery of fuel from the ship’s tanks, separators and purifiers directly to the generator this saving around 25% of fuel costs. 

A big thanks to Ffolkes Offshore for organising all this and not charging a penny for doing it!

I also ordered some more water… although the vessels water purifier system has given up and is too costly to replace (made in India) and repair is not possible. 

So it is ‘Party Time’ for six of the crew!

Good News!

However, for all those who have been heavily involved in caring for their welfare face the ‘loss’ of our good friends! Mixed emotions…

Hopefully we can do something on Wednesday before they set off home on the Thursday… 

I  popped into one of the companies that have been very generous in supporting the Malaviya Seven appeal (You can still Donate to M7 Appeal) and I visited a retired seafarer, before meeting with various seafarers at the Centre – one out of work seafarer who needed help with the necessities of life! 

On Friday I began to order items for the Christmas Parcel Wrapping… yes, already! Wrapping will commence on the 5th of October at 1800… put the date in your diary! More dates will be given later. 

The sun has got its hat on!

Now it is Tuesday and I have been on the Malaviya Seven this morning – interesting to have a cup of tea with them as they enjoyed their version of an English Breakfast! It was good to see them laughing and some sitting on the deck in the sunshine!

I started this last week, and if I do not close now… it probably will be next week before I finish!

Off to the Lord Provost’s office… all will be revealed later!!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Blessings,

Howard ><> 

 

 

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