Seafarers play a vital role in our daily lives. We depend on them to bring us food, electronic items, raw materials, and other essential cargo. In addition, we depend on the seafarers to ship our exports overseas to help pay for the imports. Without ships and seafarers, trade would cease and our lives would be almost unrecognizable.
Seafarers need us. The reality of working at sea is that it is the third most hazardous occupation, due to natural elements and piracy. The work takes seafarers away from their homes and families for months at a time. While at sea they are isolated. When in port, they often find themselves alienated by language and culture. Moreover, under the Homeland Security rules, shore leave in the United States is often difficult to obtain.
The crews on the commercial ships that call at the Port of Seattle come from many different countries, each with its own culture and religious beliefs. The average crew is made up of about 20-25 seafarers who often speak several different languages. This leads to isolation and loneliness.
It is our privilege to welcome all seafarers while they are in Seattle. Our chaplain and ship visitor visit ships and arrange transportation to the Center or for shopping in the city. The Center has computers for the use of seafarers and is wired for Wifi. When seafarers are not allowed to leave their ship, we bring SIM cards to them so that they can call home while in port. If needed, we also offer to do any necessary shopping for them.