Centre suffers volunteer drop
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.