Sailors’ Society welcomes new Southampton port chaplain

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Andy Scaysbrook Photographer/ Not On My Watch Campaign
Andy Scaysbrook Photographer/ Not On My Watch Campaign

International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society has announced the appointment of Revd Frans Sahetapy as its Southampton port chaplain.

Frans, who is currently Sailors’ Society/Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) port chaplain for Tilbury, will provide welfare and chaplaincy support to the thousands of seafarers who visit Southampton port each year.

Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s CEO said: “Frans is an experienced, much-loved and respected chaplain and we’re delighted that he will be coming to lead our chaplaincy support for seafarers in our home city.

“We’re extremely grateful to Frans for all he has done in his time at Tilbury and London Gateway ports, where he worked in partnership with Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest and other port chaplains working out of Tilbury seafarers’ centre. We look forward to continuing this joint working approach in Southampton port.”

Frans, who has worked as a port chaplain for almost 20 years, is due to take on his new role on Monday December 7.

Alexander Campbell, QVSR CEO said: “We will greatly miss Frans as he has been such a valuable part of our team here at Tilbury; he has always put the needs of seafarers first and this has been evident in all he has done. We wish Frans great success as he takes up his new role in Southampton.

“QVSR has been delighted to work in partnership with Sailors’ Society in delivering this joint chaplaincy post and we look forward to future opportunities to work together.”

Sailors’ Society, which has its headquarters in Southampton but operates in 89 ports around the world, has been caring for seafarers and their families for more than 200 years.

The onset of COVID-19 has brought extra pressures to merchant seafarers, preventing many from returning home and forcing them to work months over their original contracts. Others have been unable to start their contracts and have had incomes decimated as a result.

The charity’s chaplains and ship visitors reach out to more than 23,000 seafarers worldwide every month, virtually and in person, providing support such as Wi-Fi hotspots, transportation and a listening ear. Sailors’ Society also manages Southampton Seafarers’ Centre which last year saw more than 7,500 seafarers walk through its doors.

As well as its work in ports, Sailors’ Society supports seafarers and their families at home, building houses and schools and providing grants to bring hope and security to seafaring communities.