The Mission to Seafarers and Deutsche Seemannsmission have launched a new partnership to improve welfare services for seafarers in Panama.
The two companies will jointly coordinate their work in Panama, and work together to support and advocate on behalf of international seafarers calling in Panama. This includes the many thousands of seafarers who sail through the Panama Canal each year.
In addition, on 14th December 2022, the Mission to Seafarers has launched its new Flying Angel Campaign 2023 with the goal of raising US$700,000 (£600,000) to respond to the changing needs of seafarers’ welfare.
The new partnership was launched at a reception held at the residence of the British Ambassador in Panama, hosted by Ambassador Tim Stew MBE, who is also Patron of Mission to Seafarers, Panama, and attended by Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, and Matthias Ristau, General Secretary of the Deutsche Seemannsmission.
As explained, the Mission to Seafarers has been working in Panama since 2018, inspired by Dr John Meredith CBE, now resident in Panama and Chairman of the local committee. Under the dynamic leadership of Father Ian Hutchinson Cervantes, it has developed a strong welfare presence across Panama’s ports. This is particularly important in such a vital maritime strategic hub, with the Canal and key ports at either end. The importance of the relationship is enhanced, given that Panama is the world’s largest ship registry. The Mission’s work has also been supported by key partners across government and by maritime authorities.
The two organisations will also jointly fund an additional full-time chaplain, as well as continuing to build a strong volunteer base. Both organisations are committed to seamless working together in this new partnership.
They ensure a joined-up approach to seafarers’ welfare and fresh investment of people, skills and financial resource into crew welfare. I have been amazed to see the speed of progress in Panama since we began this work less than five years ago. This is a key hub and we have shared exciting plans for the way things might develop further into the future.
..said Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers.
“We have decided that here at the Panama Canal, one of the most important waterways in the world, we will join forces for the benefit of seafarers. 14,000 ships pass through the canal a year, so it’s important that someone keeps an eye on the seafarers. There are an incredible number of ships here in Panama. And seafarers live and work on them, and they need to be looked after. We now want to tackle this together with our British colleagues and achieve the best for them”, said Matthias Ristau, General Secretary of the Deutsche Seemannsmission.
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