Seafarers Mission a refuge for all

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Home > Media > News > Seafarers Mission a refuge for all
Seafarers Mission a refuge for all

Sailors from around the world have experienced the friendly support and practical help on offer at the Seafarers’ Mission at Bell Bay.

Based in a blue cottage on a hill overlooking the port, the mission is an ecumenical service to meet the needs of visiting seafarers.

It began as an initiative of the Ministers’ Fraternal in George Town and opened in February, 1991.

The current facility opened in 2004 and volunteers from the Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Salvation Army and Uniting Churches are involved in its operation.

TasPorts, Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea (Catholic) and the Mission to Seafarers (Anglican) have also supported the work of the mission over the years.

Sr Elizabeth Vagg, a Presentation Sister who is Chaplain and University Associate at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, is not part of the mission but supports its activities.

She also usually attends the annual Ecumenical Service for Seafarers’ Sunday held in George Town each July.

“This is a chance to pray for seafarers and the work of the mission as well as to renew friendships, be updated on the work of the mission and offer support,” Sr Elizabeth said.
The mission includes a small shop, as well as access to a chapel, phones, computers, WiFi, an eight-ball table, TV, a guitar and someone to talk to.

“The work of the centre ranges from helping to alleviate the loneliness and isolation that many seafarers experience as a result of being away from family and friends for long periods, to assisting with work-related problems and safety issues,” Sr Elizabeth said. 

“I stand in awe at the generosity of the people who volunteer at the centre.

“They use their time and gifts to extend the hand of friendship and reach out in love to all seafarers, irrespective of race or creed.”

The mission opens about 15 nights a month, whenever there are ships in port with overseas seafarers on board, from 7pm to 10pm.

Centre co-ordinator Garry Jones, who has been involved with the mission since 2006, said that seafarers liked visiting the Bell Bay mission because of its unique location within the port precinct.

“A German sailor said, ‘nowhere else can I get off my ship and walk to the mission and see kangaroos on the way’,” Mr Jones said.

The Seafarers’ Mission at Bell Bay welcomes new volunteers and for more information call Garry Jones on 0427 622 391.