This was the outcome of a Port Welfare Committee (PWC) meeting arranged by Harbour Master René de Vries, earlier in May.

This comes as it appears the twelve social and spiritual organisations involved in visiting ships are finding their work difficult due to the extra measures introduced to cope with COVID-19.

However, now, after ten weeks, the crew changes are slowly getting underway, although in many cases it can take quite a while, said Harbour Master René de Vries.

There is a good reason why crews are changed regularly. Seafarers who have been waiting two months for relief and are worried about their loved ones back home can often use a little outside support. A chat about something different, a sympathetic ear and a little understanding from an outsider, or practical things such as an extra phone card so they can ring home can do wonders in such a situation,

...he explained.

Under the initiative, the VRC will point the shipping agents to the importance of emotional support during what is an extremely difficult time for crew members, and that they should help the ship visitors.

We will be actively distributing the names of the relevant organisations among the companies involved and drawing their attention to the coronavirus protocol under which the ship visitors operate,

...said Robert Bravenboer on behalf of the VRC.

The Port Welfare Committee includes the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents (VRC) and the port entrepreneurs’ organisation Deltalinqs.

Each year, the committee reserves approximately €140,000 to promote the welfare of crews on sea-going vessels. The funding- contributed by shipping companies, the De Beer Foundation and the Port Authority - is intended for the welfare of seafarers calling at the port of Rotterdam.