Tampa Port Ministries Celebrates Grand Opening of New Outpost to Support Visiting Ships’ Crews
Seafarers are international maritime workers aboard cargo and cruise ships, who are sometimes at sea for months at a time.
The new center will be located in the port’s Cruise Terminal 3 and will serve as a package and mail delivery hub, also allowing international maritime workers the ability to contact family and friends, utilizing free WiFi. Tampa Port Ministries’ objective is to meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of seafarers, often from developing countries making modest incomes, as well as others who use the facilities of Port Tampa Bay.
In a typical year, the Seafarers’ Center, staffed by volunteers, sends/receives more than 26,000 packages on behalf of their guests. They currently receive about 70 packages per day, every day! Staff also conduct approximately eight shopping trips per week for ships’ crews who have very limited time in port, or about 400 a year. More than 10,000 individuals visit the Seafarer’s Center each year for services that include Wi-Fi, phone access, fellowship, or other physical, social, and spiritual needs. The new center will be especially helpful to workers aboard cruise ships that sail from Port Tampa Bay.
In addition to the new center at the cruise terminal, the organization provides transportation from dockside to the Hookers Point Tampa Seafarers Center, post office, banking, shopping centers, and other locations as the seafarers might need. Center personnel help to locate medical, pharmacy, and dental care, legal aid, and recreational opportunities. Seafarers can find casual wear as well as work clothes in the free clothes closet. For those who don’t have the time to go shopping, the center offers a small convenience store with toiletries, snacks, and other personal items.