How Sarumi, MTSL Celebrated Mission Week, Canvassed Industry Support to Aid Seafarers

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The new management committee of the Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL) headed by former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Chief Adebayo Sarumi has charted a new course and is injecting new life into the mission, despite COVID-19 challenges.

The MTSL has been in existence for over 60 years and is part of a global organisation which has been in existence for over 150 years.
The Mission to Seafarers is a mission society of the Anglican Communion, which offers help and support to merchant seafarers.

The charity provides its services through the chaplains that it appoints to port centres in over 50 countries.

The mission in Nigeria witnessed a change in administration on 15th March 2020 with a new committee to rejuvenate the mission.

Members of the committee are; Chief Adebayo Sarumi as Chairman, Rev Canon Aduroja the Chaplain, Eng Emmanuel Ilori Assistant Chaplain, Mr Igho Dafinone is Treasurer, and Ms Funmi Folorunso is Secretary of the committee.

Other members include; Eng Philip Atitebi, Mrs Yetunde Akinluyi, and Mr Dotun Makinwa.

Last week, the mission celebrated its “Mission Week” which was a week-long series of events intended to further ender various stakeholders to the seafarers community.

The celebration started with a press conference held on 6th July 2020 at the Saint Andrews Anglican Church Apapa Lagos where Chief Sarumi alongside his committee members took journalists on a tour of the Seafarers Centre, showcasing the rehabilitated facilities and appealing for more funds to carryout other projects.

Presently, the seafarers facility being developed include recreational areas such as a lounge, swimming pool, a media centre, a gym, library and quiet rooms for meditation.

Speaking at the event, Sarumi said “We appreciate immensely our sponsors and supporters who have assisted us in the past and are still presently standing with us in the development of the centre”

“It is also our hope that both the public and industry stakeholders would join us in this regard”

On Thursday 9th of July 2020, the mission hosted a global virtual seafarers seminar. The virtual seminar (Webinar) was themed “Sefarers Welfare; Are we Missing the Boat?” with high quality speakers and maritime experts discussing future blueprint towards improving seafarers welfare.

One of the take home from the conference was the decision of the mission to collaborate with the Maritime Law Association in order to fight the Criminalisation of Seafarers in Nigeria.

Some of the speakers at the event includes; Shipowners; Engineer Greg Ogbeifun, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, Aminu Umar and Caren Ogidigben. Other stakeholders and seafarers group at the webinar are; Maritime Workers Union (MWUN) Merchant Navy Senior Staff Association, President of Nigerian Master Mariners, Capt Tajudeen Alao, maritime lawyer, Mr Chidi Ilogu, Director General of NIMASA among others.

The grand finale of the mission week held last weekend with an online MTSL Sea Sunday Service.

The Provost, Cathedral Church of Christ, Anglican Church, Very Revd. Adebola Ojofeitimi, at the service said that Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL) needed support from stakeholders to aid seafarers that stop at the country’s port.

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According to the provost, the eight members of the management committee of MTS cannot help all the seafarers coming into Nigeria.

He said to be able to give seafarers the succour they needed both mentally and physically, there was need for support from stakeholders.

“Seafarers’ welfare is essential, and that is why today we are joining forces with the MTSL to call on all and sundry to come to their aid.

“Seafaring has to do with working on the sea, and that work at sea is not for pleasure but for delivery of goods and services around the world.

“Eighty-five to 90 per cent of goods and services that sustain our daily lives are carried under the watchful eyes of these seafarers and so without them, the world will starve.

“Unfortunately, in carrying out this assignment, they are exposed to so many hardships, victims of abuse and exploitation, pirate attack, abandonment by shipowners and as a result they suffer mental illness and even death.

“So, the world must rally for their support, they cannot be abandoned. MTSL has a role to play, but they need support from stakeholders,” he said.

Ojofeitimi listed four points to note while serving on the mission to include contributing to the development of the MTSL centre to provide seafarers with a relaxation point when they are in the country.

He also mentioned ship visitation, which should not be empty-handed.

Others are donation in cash and kind, especially to MTSL, so that they can work well, and advocay, speaking up for seafarers so that people could understand what they do.

Ojofeitimi said that hospitality was the watchword, as it was a duty toward God through neighbours.

“Seafarers’ welfare is essential, and that is why today we are joining forces with the MTSL to call on all and sundry to come to their aid.

“Seafaring has to do with working on the sea, and that work at sea is not for pleasure but for delivery of goods and services around the world.

The Chairman, MTSL, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, appealed to parishioners not to be tired in coming to the aid of MTSL, as they still fell short of expectations.

“There is so much to do and we cannot do it alone, we need help from everyone to ensure that the seafarers get relief and peace of mind when they are not at sea,” he said.

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