by Silvie Boyd, DSM Port Chaplain, Le Havre, France
A new project of the Deutsche Seemannsmission e.V. (German Seamen’s Mission) is taking German and European ports and thus all the world’s oceans by storm.
The crew of the Maersk Estelle ordered a basketball in the port of Le Havre in January 2020. Like so many seafarers, they had a ban on shore leave because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, they needed a basketball to at least relax onboard on Sundays, they said. So we brought the first basketball on board. A donation, the joy was immense!
Domino effect…since July, in half of our stations from Amsterdam to Wilhelmshaven (including 5 European ports), colleagues and volunteers are handing over the 700 white DSM basketballs with our blue logos to seafarers (estimated outreach: about 10 per ball, so 7000 seafarers) who play regularly. Thereby the joy & happiness is massive!
To play basketball on board, not much space is needed. Among others, in the Philippines basketball is a national sport. Also Ukrainian, Russian and Sri Lankan seafarers like to play once in a while.
Why is this important? Basketball creates team spirit and improves mental and physical health. The fitness and enjoyment of the crew also mean better safety on board, and who doesn’t want that?
As long as shore leave is impossible for most seafarers (this is imposed by companies, not countries, for the most part in Europe and North America), they can have a short time to play sports on board without worrying about all the problems that the pandemic brings.
All crews that still want a basketball, can contact us in one of the 30 ports in which the DSM operates.
Read about the Deutsche Seemannsmission here: https://www.seemannsmission.org/