Solidarity with Mein Schiff 3 in Cuxhaven
Seamen’s Mission distributes gifts to crew members
As of late April 2020, the cruise ship Mein Schiff 3 has been docked at the Steubenhöft in Cuxhaven. The German Seamen’s Mission (DSM) has been supplying the crew stuck on board with chocolate and hygienic items donated by private individuals. The donations were intended to alleviate the stressful situation faced by the crew.
The vessel, which belongs to the TUI Cruises line, departed the Canary Islands on 18 April. The company, however, due to the ongoing Corona-Pandemic, had problems finding a port to secure the provisioning of the ship. Cuxhaven offered to accept the vessel. On board were roughly 2,900 individuals from over 60 nations, all of whom were crew members of Mein Schiff 3 or other TUI Cruises cruise ships. Many of these sailors were supposed to muster out and return to their home countries. Following the discovery of a COVID-19 case, the entire crew was tested and eight further infections were thereby identified. Due to the travel restrictions in Germany and in their home countries, crew members return voyages turned out to be difficult; thus, by and large, the crew first had to remain on board the vessel. As a result of this, the Maritime Casualty Command (Havariekommando) in Cuxhaven asked the German Seamen’s Mission for its assistance in supporting the seamen with psycho-social emergency services.
The Seamen’s Missions of Cuxhaven, Hamburg, Stade and Bremerhaven distributed hygiene articles, sweets and telephone cards which were financed via private donations with the aim of giving comfort to the stranded seamen and to demonstrate solidarity. Beyond this, regular psycho-social support was provided to the seamen on board and for the individuals infected with coronavirus who had been hospitalized. Chairman of the German Seamen’s Missions Clara Schlaich emphasized that the situation on board the vessel had started out as being very tense. After the departure of the first healthy seamen, however, the situation calmed down – also thanks to the work of the Seamen’s Mission. “This effort was a significant challenge for us and we are happy that everything has gone so well. In the preceding years, we have trained our employees in psycho-social emergency services. That has paid off now and it has shown that we have a strong network that is there for the people on board,” added Martin Struwe, the deacon of Cuxhaven’s Seamen’s Mission.
Meanwhile, the first charter flights to Ukraine, Indonesia and other countries have return some of the crew members back to their home countries. On 14 May, the work of the Seamen’s Mission on board Mein Schiff 3 was largely wrapped up. The remaining seamen on board and in the region, however, continue to be given pastoral care by the Seamen’s Mission.
Further information regarding Cuxhaven’s Seamen’s Mission and its projects can be found at https://www.facebook.com/seamensclub.cuxhaven.