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The mission that sails to the hearts of seafarers

Around 1.7 million seafarers work on board 85,000 merchant ships worldwide. The Seamen’s Christian Friends Society seeks ways to care for believers and bring the gospel to the maritime community.

FUENTES MissionBox AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus BELFAST 05 DE MAYO DE 2021 08:42 h
Around 1.7 million men and women work on board some 85,000 merchant ships worldwide. / Facebook [link]SCFS[/link]

The Seamen’s Christian Friend Society (SCFS) estimates that around 1.7 million men and women work on board some 85,000 merchant ships worldwide.

They usually work 12 hours a day, six to seven days per week, on contract for periods of nine months or more. This means that these workers cannot go home to their families at the end of a day's work. When they have a day off, the only place they can go is the space between port, starboard, bow and stern.

Furthermore, it is estimated that over 500 seafarers die at sea every year, due to the hardness and dangerous nature of their work.


Helping seamen to sail towards Jesus

Seamen often experience loneliness and depression, so that having people who accompany and encourage them in every situation as a real friend, is very important for them.

That is why SCFS was created more than 170 years ago, “to offer a hand of friendship to the maritime community and to all those involved in maritime industries, trades and activities”, they say on their website.

SCFS missionaries board the ships on shore whenever they have permission to do so. They also have meeting places near the shipyards in ports where on-board visits are not allowed.

According SCFS, seamen “can find rest, relaxation, and friendly people who are ready to give a listening ear to those who are lonely, those who need wise advice and counseling, and those who are seeking comfort” in their facilities.

They explain that for many Christian seamen, visiting SCFS premises has become “a routine dockside activity”, because they can find Christian fellowship and opportunities for worship and prayer, as well as to study the Bible together.

“They often bring unsaved co-workers with whom they have been sharing the gospel”, the SCFS points out.

The Christian ministry believes that “during a span of almost 200 years, the seaman’s need for spiritual challenge and encouragement has changed little”.

[photo_footer]SCFS was created more than 170 years ago to offer a hand of friendship to the maritime community. / Facebook SCFS.[/photo_footer] 


Coronavirus' impact on maritime trade

The demands of transporting commercial goods across the high seas are increasing, and meeting them can place additional stress on the workers of those fleets.

Moreover, the poor economic situation resulting from the coronavirus fear has made life even more difficult for seamen”, stresses SCFS on its website. The trade magazine American Shipper, has recently warned: “Everyone is being overwhelmed and overwhelmed by the cargo of goods. It's unbelievable and something we didn't see coming”.

American business and financial news network CNBC also released a report about this issue last February, saying that “container shipping finds itself in a major bottleneck as demand rises again”.


“Seamen need our prayers”

“The world is resting on the backs of able-bodied seamen. Without them, global commerce and trade grind to a halt. Those men and women need our prayers as much as any tribe in any village or people surviving in the slums of urban areas”, says the SCFS.

They also call on to pray for the missionaries of the SCFS who are representing Jesus Christ to them”.




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