Operation Cruise Terminal at the OPT
With the upcoming cruise season, starting in October 2018, Mission to Seafarers, Sydney is launching Operation Cruise Terminal at the OPT:
1. To facilitate the needs of seafarers calling at the OPT and caring for the welfare of seafarers with compassion on all cruise vessels regardless of their rank, nationality, socio-economic background, age, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
2. To create the awareness among seafarers of Who we are, Where we are and What services we offer them.
The seafarers have many and varied needs because of their long contracts which typically will be from 6 to 12 months working on board the vessel.
Due to the quick turnaround of cruise vessels at OPT (arriving at approx. 6:00hrs and departing at 18:00hrs), not many of the crew have the luxury of shore leave. For the minority that do venture on shore, they will prioritise carefully what they can do in that brief time.
Operation Cruise Terminal at OPT focuses on these needs and therefore, in partnership with the Port Authority of NSW and with their approval, we are setting up a gazebo or marquee at the crew exit gangway of the Overseas Passenger Terminal. This facility will enable us to serve the seafarers, assisting and caring for them in whatever way possible and within our means.
Our friendly MTS staff at the gazebo will be selling discounted pre-paid SIM cards with good plans; distributing our newsletters, magazines and information sheets regarding the Mission to Seafarers and directing them to our Mission Centre which is only a 10-minute walk from OPT.
At our Mission, we provide facilities such as free internet and wi-fi where seafarers can get connected with family and friends back home and listen to news updates in their own language in our Apple TV lounge, whilst enjoying a free tea or coffee. They can change foreign currencies to local currency and remit their wages to family members back home through our Western Union facility. Our shop is stocked with relevant toiletries; groceries; health supplements such as Omega 3 Fish Oil; some favourite snacks such as Boy Bawang, Chicharong and quick noodles and sells souvenirs such as soft toy kangaroos and koalas, fridge magnets, T-shirts, caps etc at much discounted prices; mobile phones and accessories. We also sell discounted tickets to places of interest such as Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Wild Life Park and Sydney Tower, or seafarers can just enjoy relaxing in our centre on Hickson Road, Millers Point, playing pool and table tennis. Reading materials such as novels, booklets, magazines and newspapers are available free of charge.
Due to their work commitments, many seafarers work through the festive seasons, especially Christmas and New Year. During these seasons, many of them would like to order gifts from the website but they face the problem of where to deliver their order? We allow them to use our Mission’s address where their order can be delivered, and they pick up from us when they call in at our Port. This is another way to meet the needs of the seafarers. We have much positive feedback from them.
The friendly, competent staff and chaplains are available seven days a week, 363 days a year, providing listening ears to seafarers needing to share private and confidential matters without being judged or criticized. The Mission provides a home away from home for all seafarers. We provide pastoral and personal care as well as hospital visitation when needed.
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Senior Manager, Cruise and Terminal Operations, Robert Rybanic and his team from Port Authority of NSW for endorsing our Operation Cruise Terminal at OPT and their permission to set up a gazebo at the terminal to serve and assist the seafarers calling at our Port. We look forward to partnering with other agencies to assist us to serve the seafarers with greater efficiency!