The seafarers visiting New Zealand is up for a major surprise as a charitable organization supporting seafarers visiting will be boosting funding.
The Seafarers Welfare Board was offering crucial support system to seafarers. They have helped the seafarers with access to books, internet, toll call facilities and counseling etc. Now, these facilities will increase as funding for these are increasing.
The board operates 11 ports in New Zealand. A change in charity donations law will ensure that a part of the maritime levy goes to the Welfare Board.
New Zealand Transport Minister Michael Wood stresses on the need for more onshore support as many crew are stranded at sea without any contact for more than 18 months.
“The board ensured Wi-Fi units were made available for ships calling at New Zealand ports, this gives seafarers the chance to connect with their families after months at sea and board staff communicating with them provides an avenue to raise concerns and complaints”, said Wood.
Welfare Board chairman Lance Lukin echoed similar sentiments when he said that this will allow more time for actual work at sea rather than just fundraising attempts.
“We have been working towards this for some time, the government stepping in and meeting its obligation under the maritime Labour Convention is a fantastic announcement”, said Lukin.
This will help in getting the basic aids for the crew who have little to no fresh food and basic items like toothpaste onboard ships. So far they are surviving by meeting their demands through contactless shopping
“There was a ship recently where the crew hadn’t touched land in 15 months and they were at their absolute wit’s end and about to abandon ship. We were able to work with the union and Maritime New Zealand to change some of the crew over so they could go home, but yeah some were struggling massively with their mental health,” Lukin said.
The most crucial part here is gearing then out and acting on their concerns patiently. New Zealand will pass the Regulatory Systems (Transport) Amendment Bill before mid-year. This will make way for the maritime levy to be indulged in the seafarers support services.