By David Oladimeji
The service, attended by big wigs in the maritime industry, solicited support for maritime workers.
The mission, an affiliate of the Anglican Church, marked the annual service simultaneously in not less than 150 countries of the world, to show care to the seafarers.
The officiating priest, Very Rev. Adebola Ojofeitimi, in his sermon prayed for God’s protection for the seafarers.
Ojofeitimi, who expressed concern on the difficult terrain under which seafarers work daily to transport goods and services from one region of the world to another, said that their efforts were invaluable.
“Lord God, we depend on you for life itself. We depend on seafarers for many of our daily needs. Watch over them, keep them from dangers, befriend them in loneliness and bring them safely home from every voyage,” he prayed.
In his address at the event, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, a Management Committee Member for the mission and Chairman of the event, said that MTS was an international non-profit body founded in 1856.
Sarumi, who commended the efforts of the seafarers, who, against all odds, brought goods from manufacturers to those that needed them, said that without the seafarers the world’s economy would be threatened.
The Chairman, a former Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority, appealed for support to the mission and for the sea workers.
“The MTS facility in Apapa that serves our seafarers whenever they are onshore required our attention to put it in a habitable form as is the situation in other maritime countries.
“Those our brave men and women that endangered their lives in the waters to bring happiness to our homes and society need to be catered for after months of lonely voyage with a life-exciting centre that will keep them alert when they sail out.
“As people who are always in the marine shore working, they are most time faced with depression and other traumatic experiences,” he said.
Sarumi said that it was the duty of the mission to respond to such life threatening circumstances that forced some seafarers to commit suicide.
He said that the mission needed to provide a centre for the seafarers to revamp their state when onshore.
“The task is not what only the mission can shoulder hence we are appealing to stakeholders in the industry and the general public to support the mission to carter for the seafarers,” he said.
Sarumi, who commended the Nigeria Association of Master Mariners, for keeping faith with the Nigerian mission, added that the committee would ensure that a befitting facility for the seafarers was a priority.
Also speaking, a mariner, Capt. Emmaunel Ilori, said that the church and mission was working in unison to ensure seafarers got the best in welfare either on or offshore.
The service was held at the C.M.S Cathedral in Lagos.