A special Sailor Christmas Service available for digital download for the crew during the holiday season has been developed by the Isle of Man Ship Register (IOMSR) and the Dutch Sailors’ Mission Association – Nederlandse Zeevarenden Central (NZC).
OMSR Director Cameron Mitchell said the Christmas celebration is now available on its Crew Matters sailor welfare app, having been registered at St Nicholas Church in Monnickendam in the Netherlands by the Dutch Seamen’s Mission Association, which is a member of the International Christian Maritime Association. (ICMA).
Mr Mitchell, a former sailor himself, said he hoped the service would give sailors a boost over Christmas and pointed out that the Crew Matters app is available free to the 1.6 million sailors in the world via Apple Store and Google Play (see links below).
“With around 400,000 sailors coming from the Philippines, we recognize how important their faith is to them, as well as to Christian sailors of other nationalities,” he said. âSo when ICMA and the Stella Maris marine charity approached us to broadcast the service on our app, we thought it was a brilliant idea.
Religious charities do vital work in the port, the key now is to harness technology to extend this support to sailors at sea. Due to work and covid restrictions, many sailors will not be able to visit the ports. churches at Christmas. We hope this Mass will bring some spiritual comfort as so many sailors are far from home and their loved ones. “
Jason Zuidema, Secretary General of ICMA, welcomed the initiative. âIt can be difficult to be away from family and friends during the Christmas season,â he said.
âFor this reason, sailor missions around the world prepare little gifts for sailors, to bring them a little cheerfulness and let them know that their hard work is appreciated. Seafarers cannot attend Christmas celebrations at home with family and friends so it’s great that we can help them organize the celebration. “
Cameron said that in addition to church services, the app provides a range of useful services in accordance with comments from the sailors themselves.
âThe app is designed for sailors by sailors,â he said. âWe talked to sailors and listened to how we can improve their lives at sea. This includes fitness and wellness sessions, educational classes and events like mass. Seafarers can also record their shifts in a seagoing service log, and if they are feeling stressed or sick, there is a live SOS feature that provides immediate access to a confidential hotline or to a chat box feature connecting to ISWAN’s team of specially trained counselors and psychologists – one day seven days a week.
On a practical level, Cameron said the app also solves the problem of storing seafarers’ documentation in one place, as well as providing a link to the Nautilus union with details on members, news, information, etc. careers, jobs and training opportunities. He said the app contains a wealth of information from the ship register, including the captain’s manual, port services and vessel traffic.
âThe feedback we get from sailors and shipowners is really positive,â he said. âSeafarers want more positive things to do at sea, while shipowners want to find new ways to help seafarers and embrace digitalization. “
Download the Crew Matters app on Apple via this link.
Also with GooglePlay here.