“Seafarers are the world’s forgotten workforce, typically from a developing nation. By volunteering to drive the bus transporting seafarers to the city I find it very rewarding to give the seafarers in port that day an opportunity to get off the ship and get some much needed recreation.”
Originally a Mechanical Engineer, Shane has worked at senior executive operational levels for government and private organisations at Sydney ports. Long dedicated to improving the lives of seafarers at all levels, his volunteer service includes over 20 years on the MtS Board and 7 years as a regular volunteer bus driver. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Director of the Sydney Bethel Union. Shane said he especially enjoys chatting with seafarers as he regularly drives our minibus.
“I particularly appreciate the culture of the Mission…Christians working with others to help seafarers of all faiths from all around the world right here in Sydney.”
Clive’s special connection with seafarers began as he was growing up living above the Mission to Seafarers’ previous premises at Circular Quay. His father Clive Andrew was the Principal Chaplain. Despite the demands of running one of Sydney’s leading architectural firms, Clive’s childhood experiences led to a lifetime of volunteer faith-filled service to seafarers. Clive served as a trustee/director, then Chair of the Sydney Bethel Union (SBU) for more than 40 years and continues to support MTS in his retirement. He has also long advised us on resourceful ways to use Mission facilities to best support seafarers.
“Their lives are terribly hard and they feel so isolated – it’s often so easy to help them … I was so proud to work here, because all the team cares so much for the seafarers.”
Wendy started helping out as a volunteer using her accountancy skills and ended up becoming the administration/marketing cornerstone for 12 years. When asked what she would miss most on retirement, Wendy replied that while it was exciting when funds were successfully raised for big needs such as the new bus, she will miss seeing the joy on the seafarers’ faces when the Mission was able to help them with even simple things like SIM cards and somewhere to relax.
Graham Lightfoot AM
Graham has always believed seafarers are the backbone of the industry. He developed his commitment for seafarer welfare from his earliest days in the shipping industry in Adelaide and Fremantle and continued during his time at the helm of a major shipping line in Sydney. He served 26 years at The Sydney Bethel Union, 13 as Chair. Graham has also inspired ladies from his Church, St. Paul’s Wahroonga to get involved in making beanies for seafarers which he regularly delivers to us.
Peter Janssen OAM
“I never cease to be impressed by the dedicated service being undertaken by our truly compassionate staff. They provide amazing mental and spiritual support to oft forgotten seafarers who literally keep the world of commerce in motion.”
Peter who retired as our Chair in 2023, used his experience as a CEO in manufacturing and on various Boards to ensure the professionalism of our work. He is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and his home church is Christ Church, St Ives.
“It’s a great organisation. I always dropped into Missions all around the world…camaraderie on ships can be great, but it really helps to have a break. The Missions also helped us know where to go when things don’t go the way we hoped.”
John said he now supports our work here in Sydney as a thank you for all the help he received travelling as a seafarer on general cargo container ships and with P&O all around the world. He said he missed retuning to a ship once because he didn’t realise daylight saving didn’t apply in that time zone so he knew how visiting seafarers feel. He said the Mission was also essential in working out how to get emergency help in a foreign nation.
“We can all help society develop by helping charities. I am in a situation where I can donate my time and I’ve been watching the work of Mission to Seafarers for some time. I’ve chosen them as the charity worth supporting.”
Volunteer Bus Driver Paul regularly interacted with seafarers during his career which including being loading master with EL Gas at Port Botany. When he retired, he wanted to continue to support and connect with seafarers, so became a regular volunteer driver for us at the Mission.
“As a Christian who spent my entire working life in the maritime world, I have a special interest in and compassion for seafarers. They are essential workers to the world, who suffer much and are largely unnoticed. I consider it a privilege to serve them in the name of Christ through The Mission to Seafarers”.
Matthew worked on or over the sea for all of his 48 year working life. He started as a 16yo naval officer in warships, after some years becoming a helicopter pilot then continuing civilian flying for the offshore oil industry. When working in WA, he had contact with the Missions to Seafarers and felt called to serve God at a Mission when he retired. He now volunteers for us mainly as a bus driver.
Port Authority Marine Pilot in Sydney and advocate of seafarer welfare.
“They can [be] working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It takes a special kind of person to do that job…We work with these organisations [including] Mission to Seafarers welfare centres — simple things can make a huge difference to their welfare.”
SeaRoad Deck Cadet
“It’s pretty ironic — seafarers are the ones working so hard to deliver all the ordinary goods people take for granted, goods that we can pop off to the shops to buy, but these guys often have no access to these goods themselves. That is why the care packages sent by Port Authority and Mission for Seafarers are so important.”
Isolated at Sea:
Port Authority Video
View this Port Authority video Isolated at Sea for an insight into the life of a seafarer: “Suicide rates for seafarers are probably the highest for any occupation…”