Mission to Seafarers

Resources & Events

Welcome to the Mission to Seafarers’ Resources and Events page. This is your go-to place for all things happening in our world. Here, you can find lots of helpful resources and articles to support seafarers, their friends and families.

We have details of all upcoming events as well as some feedback from previous events.

We have a range of resources like a Prayer Diary, a Seafarers Happiness Index to see how everyone’s doing, and the Flying Angel Magazine. And don’t miss “The Sea,” a special newspaper just for seafarers. It helps them know what’s going on and how to be safe. We’re here to help you through the ups and downs of life on the sea.

The Sea

Now in its 40th year, The Sea newspaper is aimed at seafarers, to help them keep up to date with the latest news and safety information. To be added to the mailing list please contact the press office. It is published six times per year.

Flying Angel

Our printed supporters' magazine is entitled Flying Angel News and is known by its acronym as FAN. It contains lots of helpful tips to help you with organising local fundraising events and publishes notices of Mission events.

Prayer Diary

The Mission publishes a monthly Prayer diary that is updated regularly. In this prayer diary we pray for seafarers and their families worldwide, our sister welfare organisations and our staff worldwide.

Seafarers Happiness Index

The Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) is the shipping industry’s ongoing barometer of the key issues facing those at sea today. Seafarers are asked 10 key questions every quarter, sharing their views about specific issues affecting their life and work.


There Are No Upcoming Events At The Moment.


  • 20 April 2023: Annual General Meeting
  • 18 May 2023: Women in Maritime Day
  • 25 June 2023: Day of the Seafarer
  • 09 July 2023: Sea Sunday



Dear Friends,

Happy Epiphany, for at least all of you who celebrate it at this time, as within our own Anglican traditions. I took the wise men as my Christmas theme this year. It seemed appropriate, given that they were “on the road” travelling at Christmas, as were so many seafarers. At Epiphany, although they had a long road home, they encountered the baby Jesus and recognised in him fresh hope for the world. Our hope and prayer this Epiphany is that seafarers and their families everywhere will encounter the light and love of God this year, and that we would be part of making that happen through all our diverse and holistic ministries.

When I first joined the Mission back in February 2013, I reflected on that wonderful Anglican hymn, a favourite at funerals, The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended. It is a hymn embedded in the global nature of the Christian Community across every time zone.

We thank you that your Church unsleeping

While earth rolls onward into light

Through all the world her watch is keeping

And never rests by day or night.

We pride ourselves in offering 24-hour, 365-day service in some sense, wherever we are (366 this year!). That sacrificial commitment to turn out within reason to meet seafarer needs is part of our Christian vocation and service. But, yes, in another sense, it is always exciting to know that somewhere in the world, as one MtS ministry moves towards night, dawn is rising over another Flying Angel Centre. And after all my travels in 54 countries since I started in maritime ministry, I still get a thrill when I see our logo on buildings, vehicles, or hi-vis in big city ports or extraordinarily remote locations. Each is a sign of welcome and of hope, the latest incarnation of work which has gone on so ceaselessly and transformationally since 1856. You are all part of a living tradition of which we can all be proud.

You have heard me speak many times of rocks and rivers, of roots and wings. You have heard me share that piece of wisdom that my old headmaster often quoted: “any organisation that stands still goes backwards”. As Secretary General, it is a part of my role—as it will be for my successor—to ensure that we remain consistently faithful to our core Christian values and purposes. I have always tried my best to do that. It is also my role to try and keep us on the move, to ensure that we retain our cutting edge in maritime ministry in times of very significant change and challenge.

“Possibility” is a key priority in our new strategy. Pioneering, entrepreneurial, and creative activity keeps us fresh, energised, and appropriate in our service. It is integral to sustaining a relevant compassion and to “building God’s kingdom” in ports and amongst seafarers and their families. To grow too comfortable is a dangerous thing in any workplace, including our own. New initiatives will sometimes be large-scale and dramatic, but they can also be small and yet equally profound. They are within reach of us all, and we must consistently share ideas and encourage and support one another. I urge you all to look closely at possible opportunities for this year.

I have often said in these past years that the world’s crises often hit seafarers first and hardest. We have seen how the pandemic did just that, as did the Ukraine war. As I write, I have just finished doing a radio interview about the current threats and attacks on Red Sea shipping and their impact on seafarers. We can imagine how many seafarers and their families back home must be feeling as they approach this very busy and increasingly dangerous shipping lane. Of course, many companies are already rerouting around Africa, with all the implications that this has for global trade and for the crews who make it happen. 2024 will probably be amongst the most globally fragile years since the Second World War. While conflicts have never ceased, the relative stability of the post-war period is breaking down with all sorts of new flashpoints terrifyingly possible.

You have all served seafarers so superbly through the troubles of recent years. We will continue to walk with seafarers, whatever this coming year will bring. I know we share that commitment.

I am hugely proud of what you have all achieved in recent years, and we all “own” all bits of our work. We are mutually interdependent – and the work of each of us is the work of all. As well as that sustained service through the most challenging of circumstances since 2020, we have seen really exciting developments in recent times. There has been port modernisation and growth, and indeed the provision of new port work, including in the area we have just been talking about where the return of or historic work in Yemen is a real possibility in 2024. We are seeing new MtS ministries emerge across the world, including last year in India, Brazil, the USA, Australia, and far beyond. In 2024, we expect to see further development in East Asia, Oceania, Europe, Canada, and Africa, with much already at the final planning stage. The key hub project is making its opening strides, with Rotterdam our initial focus. These are exciting times in port development.

The same is true of our wider complementary programme. The Family Support Networks continue to expand. The WeCare Training courses, including the new SafeTALK suicide awareness course, continue to play a major role in building seafarer resilience. The Seafarers Happiness Index is a brilliant tool both for us and the industry (please, please, do support it!). Our new digital offering, the Happy at Sea App, provides a “virtual seafarer centre” (again, we urgently need your support as we roll this out). There is a real dynamism across our MtS family and I so hope you all feel part of it. And behind the scenes, our governance, financial, and fundraising work goes on apace, the latter building on the success of the Adventure Race Japan. The next one will be even bigger and able to support even more work across the global Mission.

At the moment, I can assure you in the light of all my meetings with our industry partners, our profile and reputation is strong – but these things are fragile and we have to work hard to ensure it remains so. There is never room for complacency.

I hope that sets the scene for 2024. I have another nine months to go and I have a very full programme, including some significant travels to places and people I am keen to see and support. I am inspired by you all and so proud to have been part of this amazing family for what will have been nearly 12 years. I hope you feel equally inspired and encouraged as you begin a new year. And may you all know the light and love of Christ revealed in this Epiphany season.

Finally, please do support and pray for one another – we all need it!

In warm friendship as ever.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright
Secretary General


Posted: 06 Dec 2022 - 14:47

This was our first in-person exec meeting since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic. It was really great to meet face-to-face again!

We were privileged to have our newly appointed Chief Operations Officer, Mrs. Tomilayo Toluhi, join us from the IHQ.

We are blessed to have one of our Trustees join us for one day to share about Governance.

As always, we are so grateful for our Chairperson, Bishop Brian Mahraj, as our Liaison Bishop, who lovingly and wisely discerns throughout the meeting.


Posted: 13 Jan 2021 - 16:53

Christmas 2020 for seafarers was made possible in the Port of Richards Bay, because of the heartfelt contributions by our parent organization.

The Chaplains and Ship Visitor worked right through Christmas and New Year to bless multinational crew with Christmas gifts.

The smiles on their masked faces were evident, although unseen.

It’s true that the eyes are the windows to our souls!

God bless you all!

#seafarersarekeyworkers #flyingangelnews


Posted: 13 Nov 2020 - 14:49

Christmas is a time when we are sitting comfortably at home during the holidays with our family and friends.

Unfortunately, it is also a time when our #seafarers are thousands of miles away from their families, working in harsh conditions, in order for global trade to continue.

We therefore appeal to the community to kindly consider donating either gifts or funds to the Mission to Seafarers, in order to bless each seafarer coming to our ports with a Christmas gift.

Feel free to contact us if you need any further information.


Posted: 18 Oct 2023 - 14:05

I have just been on holiday. It was not the most successful. I tested positive for COVID-19 on the first day, and my wife followed closely. Despite being fresh from my latest vaccination, we both felt grim for most of the two weeks (worse than we had the first time around) and much of what we had planned for our break had to be scrapped. My thoughts go all out there similarly under the weather! The virus seems to be everywhere at present.

It was a reminder that COVID-19 is still with us, remains unpleasant and continues to impact on seafarers. Contracting COVID can still be a very difficult experience for seafarers on board a working ship, not least because (as is well documented) it often leaves a medium-term legacy of fatigue which can be debilitating in highly physical environments like ships. More than that, the lingering impact of the pandemic on shore leave in some parts of the world remains a problematic reality. Getting out and about, finding relaxation and stimulation in different environments and seeing fresh faces is vital for sustaining strong mental health during long ship-board contracts. Where this is prevented or discouraged – or where seafarers themselves have a self-imposed reluctance – it can have an adverse impact. We at MtS will continue to do all we can to encourage shore leave, both locally and (with colleagues across maritime welfare) internationally. Things are improving but, in some places, not always as quickly as we would wish.

Before I went on holiday, there was much to encourage. My visits included time in Scotland where I wanted to be present at the MtS Scotland Annual Meeting. This was particularly important as it marked the end of the Chairmanship of David Graham-Service. He has been a remarkably successful and hands-on Chair. He has been highly active, alongside excellent Chaplain The Revd Tim Tunley, in leading what must be a record number of Sea Sunday services across Scotland, in dramatically improving fundraising and – most importantly – in ensuring first class support for seafarers, most recently through the part MtS has played in the development of a new Centre. As was apparent once again at the meeting, Scotland also remains a place where excellent partnerships with our ecumenical colleagues are on show, particularly with Stella Maris. Thanks David (and Tim) for all you have done. As so often, a fantastic modelling of volunteering. En route it was also great to meet once again the equally vibrant staff and volunteers of our historic South Shields Centre.

On the theme of ecumenical partnerships, I travelled to Antwerp in September, this time for the Annual General Meeting of the International Christian Maritime Organisation. As ever, ICMA remains a great vehicle for partnership. And Antwerp again is a port where such partnership is marvellously demonstrated. A huge port where so many maritime welfare missions are active, they meet, plan, and pray together very regularly – and take agreed organisational responsibility for different parts of the port. They support and cover for each other in a wonderful way. It is always an inspiration to see such mutuality in work.

On my way to Scotland, I passed through the beautiful town of Hexham, with its marvellous and ancient abbey. Close to Hexham is a famous and beautiful Sycamore Tree. Famously, it stands in rugged country in a gap between two hills. It is a thing of wonder, very much visited and photographed, but also a place of shelter, both from sun and rain. A few days after my visit, the tree was cut down in an act of pure criminal vandalism. An absolute tragedy. For now, nothing stands in that gap. I am reminded of a verse in Ezekiel, chapter 22 verse 30 where God castigates his people for not having “stood in the “gap”. In that case, it is an image of a city wall, broken in battle, needing someone to stand and protect the city. But perhaps too it is an image of what we try to do: to “stand in the gap”, providing protection, a place of refreshment and nurture, even a place of beauty where seafarers can find shelter. Those I saw in Scotland, South Shields and Antwerp are standing in that gap, along with so many others. We must remain in those gaps for seafarers and their families. A thought to take away perhaps.


Posted: 01 Oct 2015 - 14:44

The focus of this month was the second regional directors conference which was hosted by South Africa. The regional directors from Canada, USA, Australia, Africa, East Asia and South Asia and the Gulf were joined by the new regional director from Oceania (New Zealand and the Pacific Islands).  Also in attendance was staff from IHQ: Andrew Wright the General Secretary (who is also the regional director for Europe at the moment), Ken Peters, the Director for Justice and Welfare and Ben Bailey the project manager. We were also privilege to have the company of Bishop Brian who gave some input around a discussion on Liaison Bishops as well as Peter Snow who is the retiring regional coordinator from Oceania. Peter chaired a discussion on constitutions as the Oceania region have also just adopted a regional constitution. 

The summary and conclusions of our discussions will be discussed at the next CRC meeting in November in Cape Town.  Stations/Centres will have a chance to debate and decide on how we will continue to minister to seafarers not only in our region but also what standards and norms we need to adopt for the ministry around the world.

Captain John Woodend retires

Cap Woodend who has served Mission to Seafarers in some capacity retired in June this year. Cap Woodend relationships with MTS started when he became a seafarer in 1956.  On a visit to Walvis Bay from his home town in England he was made a member of the Deep Sea Flying Angel by the Chaplain in Walvis Bay.  In 1966 when he and his family decided to immigrate to South Africa and settle in Port Elizabeth Cap Woodend represented the Mission in many a cricket and football game against visiting seafarers.  In 1982 he moved to Walvis Bay and become a Lay minister who was tasked to serve both the local Anglican Church as well as MTS. He was licensed by Bishop Tutu.  In 1984 he was transferred to Saldanha Bay and soon discovered that there was no Mission to Seafarers ministry in the Port.  He started a discussion with a local priest, Rev Reg Scott and eventually they opened the doors of MTS in Saldanha Bay in the same building that it is using today. 

Cap Woodend writes: “Similar principles as are observed today were introduced initially where the Mission through the Church would supply a peaceful environment for the seafarers to relax and spiritual guidance when required, Transport to and from the Mission would be supplied with a charge being levied to the ships Agents for this service. “

A brief stint in Cape Town from 1993 to 2000 saw Cap Woodend continue his involvement with MTS while servicing on the management committee in Cape Town.  In 2000 he returned to Saldanha to help revive the centre and went on to serve both as chairman of the management committee and honorary chaplain.

Tribute was paid in a service at St Andrews to the amazing commitment and work that Cap Woodend has done over many years for Mission to Seafarers.  Bishop Brian our liaison Bishop conducted the service and presented Cap Woodend with a certificate of appreciation.  

This story once again highlights the enormous value of finding volunteers who are passionate about ministry to seafarers.  It also reminds us about being committed to try to create sustainable ministry  – Cap Woodend was part of creating something that will hopefully serve seafarers in Saldanha Bay for years to come.

Sea Sunday 2016 

Speaking of volunteers – a group of mainly volunteers met last week to begin to plan for next year’s Sea Sunday celebrations. At our triennial we identified Sea Sunday as a key objective for the next three years.  There was a desire for us to draw closer to the Anglican Church and to begin to tell our story. We hope to be able to do this next year on a much larger scale than before.  IHQ have identified a theme around the likes of “looking back in the past in order to look into the future” The theme should be finalised in the next couple of weeks and we hope to have material and resources ready early in the year – watch this space.


Posted: 01 Sep 2015 - 13:35

I had the privilege this month of speaking at a few churches and groups and sharing the work of Mission to Seafarers.  I realised again how important this type of interaction is.  The more we tell the story of what God has called us to do, the more opportunities we create for people to respond and reach out with us to help seafarers. 

Durban Golf Day

I was invited to play in the Mission to Seafarers golf day this month.  Not only does this golf day raise valuable funds for the work of the Mission around the region, it also was a great opportunity for the work and ministry of MTS to be told to the Durban community. This year a full field meant that over R50 000 was raised which helps support the work in Saldanha Bay and Port Elizabeth.  Our thanks go to the MTS Durban committee for all their hard work and dedication.

Port Review in Dar as Salem

One of the services that International Headquarters offer is to undertake to review ports around the world. This review allows the region to gather valuable information concerning a specific port and then make informed decisions with regards to future development and planning around ministry and centre development. We are privilege to have Ben Bailey visiting Dar at the moment to conduct such a review.  We are confident that the information that he provides the region and the local management committee will help us ensure we make informed decisions moving forward. 

Sea Sunday in JHB

I was privileged to be invited to St Luke’s Church Orchards Sea Sunday Service at the beginning of September. I was able to share about the ministry of Mission to Seafarers in both services and to chat to some of the congregation after the service. One congregational member was especially pleased as her daughter is a seafarer and has had first-hand experience of the care and support that MTS offers to those who sail around the world. The congregation handed over 10 knitted teddy bears with the promise of more as well as a commitment to knit beanies. My thanks go to John Edwards for organising this visit and for continuing to fly the Missions flag in Johannesburg. 

Richards Bay Port Festival and March for Jesus

The chaplain of Richards Bay has been rather busy in two community events that took place in the town over the last couple of weeks.  The Mission took part in these events and where able to raise awareness of the work that they are doing in the Port of Richards Bay.  Mark reports that they manage to attract two new folk who signed up to become members of the Centre.  I would like to encourage us all to continue to look for opportunities such as these to connect with people in the community.  I have realised during my time in MTS so far that we cannot just rely on big co-corporate support to ensure the sustainability of the ministry.  We need local people who are moved by God to reach out the seafarers that are visiting their ports each day. It is from these people that we will find out next committee members as well as the resources and talents to drive and support our fundraising events. 

On a rather sad note Cap Gordon Oxley who was the chairman of the Richards Bay management committee for many years passed away last week.  Our prayers are with Ann his wife and also for Rev Jaco Dreyer who will conduct his memorial service on Tuesday. 

Crisis Teams visit to Nigeria 

As you are aware a crisis team has been established in Durban to assist traumatised Seafarers after piracy attacks and other crisis at sea situations.  The centre received a report that the crew of the MT Maro had been arrested. On a routine voyage from Ghana to Cameroon ‘MT’ Maro’s engine became unserviceable and they made for the port of Bras in Nigeria where they anchored. 

Apparently Bras had insufficient draft and it was feared that she would run aground and unconfirmed reports say she actually did. The Captain, hoping that the Nigerian Navy would assist them, found instead the Navy detaining them on 25 July 2014.

Despite efforts from the family of the crew to have them released nothing has been done as yet.  The crisis team was therefore approached for assistance by MT MARO’ Chief Engineer’s daughter, Sailors’ Society Project Director, MPHRP UK, the Nigerian Seafarers Welfare Board, ITF Nigeria and MPHRP London. 

The team consisting of Rev Boet van Schalkwyk (ISS) and Rev Thami Tembe flew to Nigeria and were allowed to visit the seafarers in Yenagoa Prison.  To their surprise they found not only the 11 crew from the Maro but in total 38 seafarers from 4 ships.  Most are awaiting trail and some have been in prison for as long as 3 years. They were able to distribute empty toiletry bags for storing their toiletries, daily devotional books and current news magazines as well as recording their names, vessels and status.   They also held a communion service before leaving the prison which was apparently very moving.  

They hope that the contacts that they in Yenagoa will allow for continued ministry to the imprisoned seafarers as well as create awareness of the current plight.   

Please continue to pray for these 38 seafarers that there trial dates would be set so that they be released and sent home to their families.  Let us prayer for the local and prison chaplains who will continue to follow up the work that was begun by the visiting team.  


Posted: 07 Apr 2014 - 13:31

Durban’s harbour choppers are back in the air after the TNPA awarded a R65 million contract to Denel Aviation to operate its ship-to-shore service.  Tau Morwe, the authority’s chief executive, said this week Denel would ferry pilots as well as maintain the three helicopters that service the ports of Durban and Richards Bay. The Durban service began on Tuesday but because of technical difficulties with the helicopter stationed in Richards Bay, this service was only expected to begin at the end of the week.   – extract from Sunday Tribune April 06, 2014, by Shirley le Guern


Posted: 19 Mar 2014 - 13:27

I have just returned from a few days in Port Elizabeth.  It was great to meet the staff from Byblia as well as the chaplain from CSO.   The Byblia centre is a place from which all these chaplains and ship visitors work from.  I enjoyed ship visiting with both Martin the Byblia chaplain and Keith Bentley the MTS ship visitor.

A Chinese seafarer arrived at the centre on Tuesday afternoon.  His wife had just had a baby boy who was only a 2 weeks old.  He had obviously not seen his little boy but was able to get on the internet and chat to his wife and see his new little baby.  This is what we as folk who are involved in visiting ships and running centres are able to do for seafarers.  I think this is the gospel in action and part of what Christ has called us to do.


Posted: 07 Mar 2014 - 13:21

Seafarers secured a minimum wage increase following talks at the International Labour Organization last week.

ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) representatives met with maritime employer representatives from the International Shipping Federation (ISF) at the ILO last Thursday and Friday (27-28 February).

The sub-committee on wages of seafarers of the joint maritime commission agreed to increase the ILO monthly minimum wage from US$585 to US$592 from 1 January 2015. On 1 January 2016, this will increase to US$614.

Henrik Berlau, national secretary of Denmark’s Fagligt Faelles Forbund (3F), was one of the ITF representatives in attendance. He spoke on behalf of the ITF seafarers’ group during the two-day meeting.

Berlau said that shipowners and the ILO had worked with the unions to reach this decision, further saying: “We believe this demonstrates the social partners’ commitment to the provisions of the MLC on the minimum wage.”

The MLC finally came into force in August 2013, after almost a decade of work by the ITF, shipping organisations, the ILO and governments worldwide.

Analysts believe that the real significance is likely to be the effect the above agreement has on collective wage-bargaining negotiations, currently coming to a head under the International Bargaining Forum (IBF), where the ITF has called for a 15% pay rise. source – ITF

Amazing to think that seafarers are earning a minimum of about R 6000 a month.

Lenten Reflections

To download the weekly Lent Reflections, simply click on the provided link for each week’s content. These reflections offer a meaningful way to engage with the Lenten season, providing insights and inspiration for your spiritual journey. Whether you’re looking to deepen your understanding or seeking moments of contemplation, these downloadable resources are readily accessible to accompany you throughout this reflective period.

Scroll to Top