Mersey maritime community rallies to help stranded seafarer

Indian seafarer Nishanth Sadaram lost touch with his family thousands of miles away after his phone was damaged and couldn’t leave his ship in Liverpool due to the coronavirus. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Seafarers Centre
John Wilson from Liverpool Seafarers Centre gives the phone to Nishanth Sadaram

 

Two Merseyside maritime organisations have helped to reconnect an Indian seafarer with his family thousands of miles away.

Nishanth Sadaram, is the third offer on MV Seamec Gallant, a bulk carrier transporting grain from Argentina to the UK. Mr Sadaram had been keeping in touch with his family in India via his mobile phone.

However, the device was damaged by seawater and, despite the vessel berthing at the Port of Liverpool, Mr Sadaram was unable to come ashore to buy a new phone due to restrictions imposed during the current coronavirus epidemic.

Ecumenical charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre launched a social media appeal after hearing about his plight. The post was seen by a member of Propeller Club Liverpool, a networking group for maritime businesses.

They rose to the challenge and immediately got in touch to donate an Apple iPhone to the stranded seafarer. John Wilson, chief executive of Liverpool Seafarers Centre, travelled to the Port of Liverpool to personally deliver the handset to a very grateful Mr Sadaram.

Mr Wilson said: “The smile on Nishanth’s face when I handed over the iPhone made it abundantly clear how much this generous gift from the Propeller Club means. The current crisis has left large numbers of seafarers in a worrying and precarious position, with all vessels on lockdown and no shore leave permitted.

“Travel and quarantine restrictions mean many are unable to return home when their contracts end, leaving them thousands of miles from home and their families.We all now take phone calls, email, messaging apps and social media for granted, but if seafarers lose that link with home it adds extra pressure to an already stressful situation.

“This gift will allow Nishanth to keep that vital connection. It’s another shining example of the generosity of this city’s residents, and of the respect Liverpool has for the critical work done by seafarers everywhere.”

Mr Sadaram added: “Thank you so much for the iPhone. It has saved my life by helping me communicate with my mother, brother, cousins and friends back home during COVID-19 times.”

Adam Whittle, president of the Propeller Club Liverpool, also said: “The Propeller Club is at the heart of a proud maritime community in Liverpool, and as such we are so pleased that we were able to assist.

“In these dark times we are all more reliant on seafarers than ever before, and so being able to extend the hand of welcome, generosity and support is vital.”

Liverpool Seafarers Centre, a partnership between Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and The Mersey Mission to Seafarers, has been overwhelmed by the public’s response to its recent appeals.

Donations made through the charity’s website and by post are being used to provide other visiting seafarers with mobile handsets and internet-enabled SIMs, allowing them to speak to friends and family at home.

The organisation is also looking to purchase MiFi devices, which create an internet hotspot and allow up to 20 people to go online simultaneously. Each device costs £450 and Liverpool Seafarers Centre is aiming to buy 10 of the units to loan to vessels whilst in port.

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