Sea Sunday 2020: MTS Lagos seeks support for seafarers

…They expect our warm embrace when they come onshore- Sarumi

As the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) Lagos joins the rest of the world in thanksgiving service for seafarers, Provost of the Cathedral, The Very Revd. Adebola Ojofeitimi, in the Homily, called for more dedicated support for the seafarers as the theme “Seafarers’ Welfare: Be Involved” also alluded.

He drew attention to the hazards that seafarers face being at sea and still have to be there for long, yet face different forms of abuses including abandonment sometimes.

He said: “Seafarers travel always, not for pleasure but, for work. Those things that sustain daily life are carried by the sea under the watch of the seafarers. The seafarers serve the world. Without them, the world would starve.

“Yet, they are exposed to hardship in various forms, being victims of abuse, and exploitation. They are no stranger to pirate attacks. Some suffer abandonment by shipowners, poor working conditions, loneliness, mental health challenges, even death at sea— reported to be even higher than death ashore.”

He appreciated the ministry of the Mission to Seafarers across the globe, and said people should be involved to bring emotional, mental, physical and spiritual healing to seafarers.

Making reference to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37, Revd. Ojofeitimi urged communities of stakeholders to give their support to the seafarers through the MTS.

Specifically, he said people could offer their support in four ways including: 1) contributing to help develop the MTS Centres, to help seafarers unwind when they come onshore; 2) involved in ship visitation, and going with support for fatigued seafarers, who cannot even leave the vessels at a time as this; 3) Donations in cash and in kind—to support seafarers; and 4) Advocacy—speaking up for the seafarers, as not so many people understand what they do.

Emphasising the importance of the support for the seafarers, the Reverend said that the Mission, which was established in 1856 by Reverend John Ashley, had been on duty supporting over 1.5 million seafarers operating in over 200 ports globally.

He, however, noted that the MTS Lagos, the premier centre in Nigeria providing succour and sustenance to seafarers coming to Nigeria required such support to continue to stand by seafarers, as they serve the good of humanity, hence the call to everyone on this occasion to be involved in the welfare of seafarers.

In his remarks, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, Chairman of the Management Committee of MTS Lagos, reinforced the call for support for the seafarers.

He said: “In addition to all said about the seafarers, there is still one thing left. And that is, whatever the tempest he goes through, whatever the dangers of the sea, whatever loneliness he has suffered, whatever deprivations, whatever emotional, physical and psychological torture he has gone through, he expects that when he gets to any port, he would be welcomed into warm hands.

“Not only to assuage his sense of loses, not only to also carter for what he has lost emotionally because he has not been able to see his family, and he has been onbord the ship  designed more for the cargo than his comfort, he expects to get a lot of comfort, encouragement , assistant.

“But, I want to say that we are still falling short of that in MTS Lagos. We therefore through our Lord Bishop, who has been most supportive and our Provost and the rest of other parishioners, require support in cash and in kind in the MTS.

He added that the seafarer expects that when he gets to a port, which may be thousands of kilometres from him, they are waiting for him, just as Revd. Ashley did when the MTS was founded, hoping for open arms that would welcome him.

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