The Mission to Seafarers held a maritime service and lunch in Yokohama, attended by its President, HRH The Princess Royal and Sir Timothy Laurence to celebrate the Mission’s long service in Japan.
The Mission to Seafarers has a long and distinguished history of service in Japan, stretching back well over a century and operates in the ports of Yokohama, Kobe and Tomakomai. The Celebratory Maritime Service was held at Christ Church in Yamate, Yokohama, where Her Royal Highness was able to meet volunteers and supporters.
Following the service, the Royal party travelled to the InterContinental Hotel, Yokohama to meet distinguished guests including Mr Kei Moyria and Mrs Ayako Moriya, formerly Princess Ayako, the youngest daughter of the late Norihito, Prince Takamado and Hisako.
The lunch was attended by many dignitaries and guests from Japan’s shipping industry and the Anglican church in Japan, including HE Paul Madden, British Ambassador to Japan, Mr Hitoshi Nagasawa, President of NYK, Mr Takeshi Hashimoto, Director and Executive VP MOL, Mr Masamichi Morooka – President and CEO of Yokohama Kawasaki International Port (YKIP) and Mr Hiroshi Imura President of ConocoPhillips, Japan.
Speaking after the event, Chris Eve, Chairman of MtS Japan commented: “The Mission to Seafarers has a proud tradition of supporting seafarers here in Japan since the 1880s, when a small centre was opened in the fast-growing port of Yokohama, initially as a refuge from alcohol but quickly widened its purpose to offer a welcome to all seafarers. Since those early days, the Mission has expanded its presence to Kobe and Tomakomai and today, all three locations offer a range of services for visiting seafarers, irrespective of nationality, race or creed.
“We are here for seafarers of all faiths and none, offering welfare services, practical support and a warm welcome. The challenges facing seafarers may change over the years, but the urgent need for the support that we provide is undiminished. We are honoured that HRH The Princess Royal could join our celebrations. With the ongoing support of our generous donors, we hope to continue our work for years to come.”
Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, added: “We are very proud that The Mission to Seafarers Japan is part of our global family of welfare centres, chaplains, staff and volunteers in over 200 ports around the world. For well over a century, seafarers visiting Japan have benefited from their support and it is an honour to celebrate their contribution to the wellbeing of the men and women serving at sea, not least at a time when the tragic impact of Typhoon Hagibis in Japan reminds us all of the perils faced by our seafarers. We are grateful, as always, to our President, HRH The Princess Royal, and to all the dignitaries and honoured guests who joined our celebratory service and lunch here in Yokohama.”
Pictured: HRH The Princess Royal; middle-right (blue lanyard): MS Rika Kono (Princess Anne’s translator); top left (white robe): Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu