UK seafarers’ centre brings Christmas to stranded cruise ships

Simon Mobsby, a charity worker for the Sailors’ Society, is delivering Christmas cheer to hundreds of cruise staff locked down onboard the large cruise ships which have become a familiar sight anchored off the UK coast since the pandemic hit in March, according to Maritime Executive

With the crews from the ships restricted to a small area of the port when they come in for supplies due to Covid-19, the charity is inviting them to get their online shopping and post delivered to its Southampton seafarers centre, and centre manager, Mobsby is then taking it to the ships when they come into port. 

Mobsby delivered more than 200 parcels last month to grateful seafarers and makes trips to the supermarket for them if they need anything else. And he’s expecting the demand to be greater as Christmas approaches. 

“They have no access to the outside world at all, so I do it on their behalf,” he says. “Their faces light up when I bring them letters and gifts from family and friends. It’s a privilege to be able to play Santa.” 

The charity is also wrapping its own Christmas gifts for the crews, most of whom have been on the ships since before coronavirus hit. And Mobsby is even delivering gifts from one cruise ship to the other. 

“People who worked together in the past are now on different ships and they’ve not been able to see each other for nine months,” he says. “One crew sent a gift order to me on WhatsApp and I delivered the presents to the other ship. When I explained who they were from, they were over the moon.” 

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