German Seamen’s Mission takes over new showcase facility.
The German Seamen’s Mission (Deutsche Seemannsmission e.V.) has moved into its new showcase Seafarers’ Lounge at the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal in Kiel. The facility is for the use of ship crews and is designed to improve communication and offer advice. At an official opening ceremony and on behalf of the Port of kiel, which was responsible for building the facility, Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Lord Mayor of the Schleswig-Holstein state capital Kiel, and Dirk Scheelje, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Port of Kiel, handed over a symbolic, oversized key to Jochen Hinz, Chairman of the German seamen’s mission in Kiel. Dirk Scheelje said “I am very pleased that we were able to create an area for the German Seamen’s Mission so close to cruise ships. The Seafarers’ Lounge will be very useful for ship crews and is a showcase project for the Baltic region”. The idea of the Seafarers’ Lounge, as with similar facilities in Hamburg and Venice, is to create a familiar environment and a place where seamen can meet in a personal and private atmosphere.
The new Seafarers’ Lounge was built in eight months and integrated into the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal. On an area of 140 m², recreation rooms, computer work stations with Internet access, a pantry cum kitchen, a small shop and a quiet and advice room have been made available for crew members. Jochen Hinz said “my thanks go to the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Port of Kiel as well as to all the other partners who have contributed to the successful completion of such an important project as this. The new Seafarers’ Lounge provides the Seamen’s Mission with the best kind of structural and equipment requirements. Central to this are the seamen whose wishes it fulfils and whose questions it answers.” The lounge’s first guests after the opening were members of the 800 strong crew of the cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1”, which was leaving the Ostseekai in the evening at the start of a Nordic cruise. The Seafarers’ Lounge opens an hour after the arrival of ships and closes about an hour before they leave.
The construction of the new facility, which has cost about 400,000 Euros, was made possible by support from the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the International Transport Federation (ITF) and the Port of Kiel. During the opening ceremony Dr. Frank Nägele, State Secretary in the Schleswig-Holstein Economics Ministry handed over an authorisation granting about 300,000 Euros from funds earmarked by the German Government for investment in seaports. “The Port of Kiel has already done a lot to create outstanding infrastructures for cruise ships and their passengers”, he said. “I am delighted that with the creation of the new Seafarers Lounge, the seamen have now also been taken into account in such an exemplary way. Within the often hectic working environment of seaman the Seafarers’ Lounge will offer privacy and a place for personal discussions”, Frank Nägele added.
The job of the Seamen’s’ Mission’ is to care for all seafarers. In the globalised world of shipping the mission’s stations are oases where seamen can find help, attention and contact to their families. Practical assistance, advice and personal consolation are at the core of the mission’s identity. In the Seafarers’ Lounge seamen can get free access to the Internet and also buy telephone cards as well as Asian and other regional foods and other small items at favourable prices. They can obtain help when they have problems and always find a sympathetic ear among the people working for the Seamen’s Mission - most of whom are volunteers. In line with its motto - “support for seafarers’ dignity” – the Seamen’s’ Mission also helps all the crew members on board cruise ships.
The Port of Kiel (Seehafen Kiel GmbH & Co. KG) operates Kiel’s commercial port on behalf of the Schleswig-Holstein state capital of Kiel, of which it is a 100% subsidiary company. The Ostseekai Cruise Terminal, in close proximity to Kiel’s city centre, is one of the most modern high-performance cruise ship terminals in northern Europe. Cruise ships of 300 m and more length can tie up there at two available berths. This year, 22 different cruise ships will make a total of 125 calls in Kiel. Overall, about 100,000 crew members are expected to be on them.