Sailors’ Society Celebrates 200 Years of Helping Seafarers and Their Families

The Durban Branch and Cape Town branches of the Sailors’ Society, Port Elizabeth and Coega as well as the MTS Mission in Richards Bay joined forces in South Africa to celebrate the 200th anniversary of this Society.

In Durban a record number of 69 seafarers joined the celebrations and enjoyed a free drink, a meal and received a small gift. A great atmosphere prevailed amongst the international group representing Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, the Ukraine, Kenya, Japan and China.

Principal Chaplain, Rev Boet van Schalkwyk opened the relaxed proceedings with a prayer, a text reading and a short message. He drew attention to the role of the modern seafarer saying they worked under trying conditions which included piracy on the seas and of course being away from their loved ones for long periods.

There was friendly competition and banter as those from India and Bangladesh watched the cricket test between these formidable teams on TV. India won by one run so there was much cheering from the supporters of the winning team.

After dinner, some seafarers went to the games room to play a serious pool game. The seafarers enjoyed taking selfies which no doubt found their way around the world on social media! They also enjoyed talking about their countries and families.

The seafarers were wished an enjoyable evening and Rev van Schalkwyk said: “You all are the VIP’s of the seas and it is indeed a blessing to serve you all.

: Fr Ashley Petersen, MTS Chaplain, Archdeacon Karl Groepe and Chaplain Steve van Schalkwyk

Celebrations in Cape Town

On to CAPE TOWN where Chaplain Steve van Schalkwyk was at the helm of the celebrations held at the Seafarers’ Centre.

Richards Bay Celebrates

The Richard’s Bay Mission was the venue for the celebrations at this KZN port. After a short service of thanksgiving, Boet and his wife Linda served breyani, dhal, salads and Soija. Seafarers also received chocolates and a bookmark celebrating Sailors’ Society. Mark Classens of MTS organised the successful event.

PSD2 also marks the 200th birthday

The crew members of the arrested vessel, the PSD2 which has been in the Port of Durban or 3 months and could not go ashore and hence could not participate in the celebrations were not forgotten. The chaplains took eats to them so they could join in the celebrations.

Chaplain Jessie John and PR Coordinator, Yvonne de Kock at the 200 Celebrations in Durban.

Port Elizabeth and Coega also joined in the celebrations

The East London Branch will also do presentations in Sterling, Cambridge, Buffelsrivier and Vincent’s church after Easter.

And so we celebrated this wonderful day in South Africa. We trust that for one day we made a difference to the lives of these people who ply the seas and can so easily be forgotten. It was also so delightful to see the kiddies at some of the events! It made the events real family celebrations!
To all those who helped make this happen, a BIG THANK YOU.

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