Yes, after 18 months the last four crew of the detained vessel Malaviya Seven left Aberdeen earlier this morning. Happy times ahead for them.
It was an emotional time and whilst it was sad to say farewell to them, it was also a happy time for them to be finally heading home to family and friends.
So much could be said about the saga… the treatment of these seafarers by their employers has been shocking. Fortunately the people of Aberdeen have rallied round them and given much-needed support to these seafarers who were stuck in Aberdeen through no fault of their own.
I remember when they first came over to work in Aberdeen – that was way back in 2002 – on the Malaviya 16.
Clay, the bosun (on right in picture above) reminded me that I came on board on Christmas Day dressed as Santa and gave every crew member a Christmas gift. A lot has happened since then, however, I am just happy that my friends will soon be home.
There were tears at the airport – Catherine, one of our ship visitors and the “mother of the ship” was very sad to see them go, yet delighted to know that they will be home for Christmas with family and friends. Catherine, her husband Bob and daughter Rebecca will all be flying out to Mumbai on the 17th to spend Christmas with their new family!
Lessons have been learned and I would love to say that it wont happen again, but sadly, nothing much has changed and it could all too easily happen again!
I do not want to get political here, but our government need to look closely at the current legislation and put something in place to safeguard seafarers rights.
As a small independent charity, we have spent 1/3 of our annual income in supporting these seafarers – not a complaint – that is what we are here for, but we could not sustain another detention like the Malaviya Seven!
A final THANK YOU to all who have helped me to help them – way too many to mention individually, but you know who you are! Your time and monetary donations are greatly appreciated. Let me assure you that any unused money that was given to support the crew will be passed onto them once our treasurer sorts out the finances!
So we move on to the next big event… the SEA SHED!
Yes, a week tomorrow (5th December we shall have a meeting for the retired and unemployed/ex seafarers at the Seafarers Centre on Market Street.
The meeting will be between 1000 and 1300 with parking at the rear fo the building off Palmerston Road.
Do let me know if you are coming… for catering purposes!
I had the privilege of lecturing at Robert Gordon University to a group of Postgraduate Law students on the role of welfare organisations and the life of seafarers! I really enjoyed this and I have been asked to assist Leon with a research project he is setting up!
I have also had a few more speaking engagements which has been great fun!
Anyway, I best close – I have a series of meetings to attend.. life is never dull as a Port Chaplain!