You are here

'Gruelling Conditions': North-east maritime charity launches appeal in support of suffering sailors

North-east maritime charity launches appeal in support of suffering sailors
Kieran Beattie February 20, 2018

A maritime charity has launched an appeal for men’s clothes to support sailors suffering in conditions similar to those endured by the crew of the Malaviya Seven.

The Aberdeen Seafarers Centre, on Market Street, needs warm jackets, trousers, hats and more to help seafarers struggling with low wages or lengthy trips away from home.

The centre was one of the many groups that assisted the 12 men who were stuck on board the Malaviya Seven, an Indian vessel which was marooned in Aberdeen Harbour for more than a year because its crew had not been paid.

People from across the north-east rallied to support the men, who were finally allowed home in December.

Now charity bosses are asking people to do the same for other seamen and women working in gruelling conditions.

Port chaplain Howard Drysdale, who works with the centre, said: “The Malaviya Seven guys were really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more who suffer greatly – there’s a lot of non-payment of wages.

“We’re appealing for more second hand clothes for seafarers who are stuck away from home and family for lengthy periods of time – particularly those aboard cargo vessels who can be out at sea for up to nine months at a time in pretty poor conditions.

He added: “Keeping warm in Aberdeen is a priority for many of them, especially those who are coming from the far east where the temperatures are typically a lot higher than they are in Scotland.

“Many of them are on minimum wage by seafaring standards, which is a lot less than minimum wage by UK standards – So they don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash on clothes that are going to get destroyed on the ships.”

Mr Drysdale was keen to remind people just how much an “island nation” depends on seafarers.

He said: “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t get our food, our cars or our TVs, so we entirely depend on them – but for many people, they are a hidden workforce. “We’re looking to get any old clothes we can get our hands on, especially jackets, jeans and T-shirts.”

Donations can be dropped off at the centre Monday to Friday, from 1pm-3pm, or from 6pm-10pm. They can also be taken in during the evenings at the weekend.