Care packs for crew stuck on their ships

The Timaru Herald - - News - Matthew Lit­tle­wood Doug Sail

Spe­cial care pack­ages are be­ing de­liv­ered to sailors vis­it­ing Ti­maru’s port who are un­able to come ashore be­cause of Covid-19 re­stric­tions.

The ini­tia­tive, which has been go­ing for a cou­ple of weeks, be­gan af­ter South Can­ter­bury sea­far­ers’ wel­fare com­mit­tee pres­i­dent John Blun­den heard of a sim­i­lar scheme in Lyt­tel­ton. Covid-19 re­stric­tions mean crews ar­riv­ing in New Zealand have to self-iso­late for 14 days but as many of the ships are in a port for only a cou­ple of days, the sailors are con­fined to their ships.

Blun­den said he was not sure how long they could keep up with de­mand for the pack­ages. ‘‘We have had some do­na­tions but the ma­jor­ity of it we have paid for our­selves. That said, I have been de­lighted with how the lo­cal com­pa­nies have of­fered to help,’’ he said. ‘‘I called up Heart­land Chips and they said ‘come out here’ and of­fered us a pal­let of chips.’’

Blun­den was also pleased a year 11 class at Ron­calli Col­lege had raised $260. The stu­dents have also baked muffins. ‘‘We had a so­cial jus­tice unit and we felt it would be a good idea to sup­port the ship’s crew,’’ stu­dent April Man­son said.

So far, Blun­den said, his group had made care pack­ages for about half a dozen ships. The ‘‘boxed up’’ pack­ages were not for in­di­vid­ual sailors but went to the cooks who dis­trib­uted to in­di­vid­ual crew things like the chips (Heart­land Chips), yo­ghurt (Lin­ton Dis­trib­u­tors), drink, lol­lies, ap­ples, ki­wifruit, or­anges.

‘‘It is some­thing they would not get ev­ery day.’’ The crew mem­bers were ‘‘ab­so­lutely rapt’’, Blun­den said.

The com­mit­tee has also set up two wi-fi in­ter­net hot spots for sailors.

‘‘Ten or 20 years ago, if the crew mem­bers wanted to call home they would have had to have hooked up a phone and pay ridicu­lous prices for it. Now they can do it all for free.’’

Blun­den said the ships, such as log and chem­i­cal car­ri­ers, nor­mally had 20-24 mainly Filipino, Chi­nese, Korean and Myan­mar crew, and with Covid19 re­stric­tions, many had been stuck on board longer than they would have hoped.


South Can­ter­bury sea­far­ers’ wel­fare com­mit­tee pres­i­dent John Blun­den with some of the muffins baked by Ron­calli Col­lege stu­dents.

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