Seafarers arriving in Montrose will now be greeted with a warm welcome following the opening of a new dedicated centre at the harbour.
The Cabin, which opened last Thursday, will offer ships’ crews a place to find help while on long contracts away from home.
Run by maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society, the quayside centre will provide its visitors with 24-hour secure access to free internet facilities, local information, magazines, books and warm clothing for those unprepared for the cooler Scottish climes.
It replaces Montrose Seafarers’ Centre (MSC) at The Haven, a combined venture between local churches and several maritime welfare charities, which has ceased to run after eight years of supporting thousands of seafarers.
Peter Donald, the Sailors’ Society’s local chaplain, and volunteer ship visitor Mike Burleigh, who reached out to more than 7000 seafarers arriving in Dundee and Montrose ports last year, will also on hand to offer transport, personal help and counsel.
The new facility was opened by Sandra Welch, society CEO, who spoke about developments being introduced by the Sailors’ Society around the world and it continuing commitment to maintaining and expanding the care offered at ports like Montrose.
She said: “The Cabin will provide a secure and comfortable environment for seafarers to take respite, receive welfare support and make that all important call home after months away at sea. Thousands of seafarers benefitted from this service in the past and we are really pleased to continue to offer this support in our great new port location.”
The opening ceremony included a prayer and blessing by local minister Rev Geoff Redmayne and was followed by a reception at the Links Hotel, sponsored by vessel agents Kinnes Shipping Ltd.
Michael Wheat, chairman of the Montrose Seafarers’ Centre (MSC) committee, also presented a cheque on behalf of MSC to the Society.
Mr Donald said: “We really appreciate the way in which the Montrose community has taken strangers to its heart. I’ve been told many stories by seafarers of the kindness and hospitality they have received here in comparison to some of the bigger ports where they often feel lonely and unsafe in strange surroundings.”
Donations of warm clothing, books, CDs, and woolly hats can be made by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org