Adversaries Unite at MtS Annual Luncheon

Image Caption: MtS Chair Rob Dunn, ITF Pres Paddy Crumlin and MtS CEO Clayton Strong. Photo by Ian Ackerman/DCN

Two men who were on opposite sides of possibly the Maritime industry’s most epic battle were united recently to call for more support for ‘forgotten seafarers’ at the Mission to Seafarers Sydney 2023 Annual Luncheon.

As he surveyed the diverse gathering of 177 people, guest speaker Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation and National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia said the event was a celebration of unity for the sake of seafarers.

He was welcomed to the podium by Mission to Seafarers new Chair Robert Dunn who had been Patrick Stevedores Finance Director facing Mr Crumlin in Court during the dramatic waterfront dispute in 1998. Mr Dunn quipped from the podium that it was good to be on the same side now supporting seafarers who had “one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.” Mission to Seafarers in Sydney has been helping seafarers to maintain their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health since 1881.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen, NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley, NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas and Port Authority of NSW CEO Philip Holliday were also at the event at NSW Parliament House, held a week before the International Day of the Seafarer (June 25).

At the event, Mr Crumlin praised the diverse gathering of Maritime industry leaders and workers, government and union representatives and the supporters, volunteers and staff of the Christian charity for coming together for seafarers. Mr Crumlin, who started as a seafarer in 1978 and now plays an international role in campaigning for maritime workers’ rights, shared his insights on their needs and solutions for a better future for all.

“We’re here together today in celebration of the fact that we care … and we’re doing something about it,” he said.

All proceeds raised from the parliamentary luncheon will be used to boost the Mission to Seafarers (MtS) welfare work including their popular free mini-bus services to the Mission’s city-based recreation and support Centre. In the past year, the Mission’s Chaplains have transported more than 1100 seafarers, visited more than 235 seafarers in need in hospitals and hotels and welcomed seafarers from over 70 nations to the Centre in Millers Point.

Mr Crumlin highlighted that caring for seafarers today helped to protect our global economic, social and environmental future. “Our global economy and the safety of our seas depends on their special skills and their overall health,” he said.

MtS Board member Captain John Bradley reinforced Mr Crumlin’s message that caring for seafarers faced extra challenges under globalisation. “The sea, weather and associated perils have not changed … but we now have mega ships berthing at special remote terminals with quick turnarounds which means limited opportunity for crew to get ashore and rejuvenate. Ships’ crew today were often ‘forgotten’ – out of sight and out of mind,” he said.

“Seafarers need us all to continue to work together to secure their welfare for the long term,” he said as he called for more support especially from the Maritime industry. “Over the past 20 years most major offices of shipping companies have moved away from Australia and dropped their support for seafarers’ welfare significantly.”

“We invite individuals and companies to partner with us and please donate and/or talk to us about helping the Mission to support more of the 400,000 seafarers who visit Sydney each year,” he said.

Thank you to our 2023 Annual Luncheon Sponsors: Silver – Gulf Agency Company. Bronze – Australian Maritime Safety Authority, NSW Ports, Daily Cargo News, The Being Group.

For more insights from Mr Crumlin, see the Daily Cargo News: https://www.thedcn.com.au/news/staffing-crewing-and-training/mts-sydney-parliamentary-luncheon-tackles-seafaring-challenges/

Based on MtS Media Release June 21, 2023. For more images, access to videos of the speeches or to arrange an interview, contact Mission to Seafarers Sydney Communications Manager: Nadja Leffler e | nadja.leffler@missiontoseafarers.org.au or the Mission Centre (02) 9241 3009.

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