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Organizational Spotlight: Mission to Seafarers



As part of the DP World ‘Our World, Our Future’ global sustainability programme, we believe strongly in building a vibrant, secure and resilient society through strategic investment in the issues that affect our people and our industry. While that definitely includes our own internal programs, we also believe in helping other businesses that have similar goals reach their objectives.

Corporate social responsibility is an important part of the culture of many companies. In Vancouver alone, there are so many deserving charities and so many opportunities to give back as a business that it can be hard to know which organizations fit best with your company’s mission and goals. The spotlight articles on our blog are designed to give you an overview and insight into the organizations working to make our communities a better place to live and work so that you can more easily assess which organizations are the right fit for you and your business.

The Mission

Mission to Seafarers is a charity that provides a “home away from home” for sailors who are away at sea for long periods of time. There are two different “Mission” facilities in the Vancouver area – Waterfront and Port of Vancouver, but there are Mission to Seafarers facilities in 260 ports across the world. The Mission provides sailors with comforts like access to Wi-Fi to call home or conduct business, recreation facilities as well as judicial or advocacy services

Here are some of the things sailors can do at Mission for Seafarers that they can’t do at sea:

  • Shoot some pool and relax
  • Use a computer
  • Make phone calls
  • Talk to legal/medical experts
  • Conduct personal business

A Touch of Home

One of the greatest benefits of the Mission though, is giving sailors the chance to stay in touch with their families. It seems like each week brings a new story of a sailor using Mission to Seafarers services to take part in important moments in their families’ lives.

For example, recently a sailor at the Mission used the Wi-Fi services to Skype with his child at home. He was singing and helping her learn numbers, able to be a part of one of the everyday activities he missed out on while at sea. Another touching moment came when a sailor was able to live stream his mother’s funeral. Many of his fellow sailors there gathered around to provide comfort and share in his grief. Without the Mission, he would have missed this this emotional, and important, event. There was even a time when a sailor from the Ukraine, dressed to the nines, showed up early in the morning, laptop in hand. He had been married for only three months (two spent at sea), and this was his way of having a date with his new bride that only Skype (and the stable internet connection at Mission to Seafarers) could provide.

In addition to giving the sailors the opportunity to connect to those back home, sailors can also get access to advocacy and judicial services at the Mission. One of the great things about The Mission to Seafarers is that they have a network around the globe so if there’s a concern raised at one Mission, it can be communicated to the next port and someone there can take the issue over and continue provide assistance.

How Your Organization Can Help

Between the two missions in the Vancouver area, they see about 18,000 sailors a year. To handle this influx each year, the small staff needs help with various projects, from cleaning and painting the facilities to knitting hats and putting together packages for the sailors. Organizing a group from your company that can volunteer their time to do work around the property is a great way to help out the charity.

Every year the Mission also needs volunteers to put together Christmas packages for the sailors when they come to port. The organization puts together about 2,500 Christmas packages for the sailors that are delivered to the ships from around December 15th to whenever they run out. To put together the parcels, the organization needs teams of people who can pick up the supplies and then help assemble the packages.

Although financial and limited material donations like books and pictorial magazines (no adult content, just things like Nature, Sports, Auto/Motorcycle, etc…) are appreciated, donating your time and skills to help out the charity is of much greater need. Organizing a volunteer day at your company and bringing a group of employees on site to do projects and help out around the mission is a fun and rewarding way for your employees to give back to the seafaring community that helps drive our economy.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mission to Seafarers, visit their website: or call them at 604-253-4421.