Cen­tre suf­fers vol­un­teer drop

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

The Dampier Sea­far­ers are fac­ing rough wa­ters with vol­un­teer num­bers fall­ing 85 per cent in the past year.

The op­er­a­tion only has three vol­un­teers, down from 20 since the re­dun­dan­cies started com­ing through in 2015.

Sea­far­ers chap­lain Ian McGilvray said the fall in num­bers meant the cen­tre had to cut back on open­ing hours.

“For the past 12 months we have re­ally strug­gled to care for the sea­far­ers, to bus them, to help them in the shop with the phones and stuff like that,” he said.

“We’re in here most evenings now — it’s al­ways very dif­fi­cult when you lose so many vol­un­teers at the same time.”

Pil­bara Ports Au­thor­ity Port of Dampier deputy har­bour master Mike Minogue said Dampier Sea­far­ers cen­tre vol­un­teers were cru­cial in help­ing to meet the ba­sic needs of sea­far­ers from around the world.

“The cen­tre and its vol­un­teers pro­vide sea­far­ers the op­por­tu­nity to leave a ship for a few hours to carry out ba­sic ac­tiv­i­ties, such as con­tact­ing their fam­ily via phone or the in­ter­net, or spend­ing leisure time in the sea­far­ers cen­tre with crew from other ves­sels,” he said.

“Sea­far­ers are away from their fam­i­lies and homes for sev­eral months at a time to work in an in­dus­try es­sen­tial to the Kar­ratha and Dampier town­ships.

“The vol­un­teers gain as much out of the time spent vol­un­teer­ing as they put in, and get to meet and learn about peo­ple and cul­tures from all over the world.”

Mr Minogue said the ap­pre­ci­a­tion from sea­far­ers to vol­un­teers made the ef­fort worth­while.

Mr McGilvray said any­one with a bit of ex­tra time could pro­vide a lot of help for the cen­tre.

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