Rev Boet and Mrs Linda van Schalkwyk visited East London [Sailors’ Society Branch] and Port Elizabeth as well as Humansdorp in October as a follow up visit after the tragedy. Rev Van Schalkwyk met families of the deceased crew members who reported that families have still not been paid the insurance claim – reason being that another crew member had been located and lawyers are processing all claims and necessary proceedings.
Some families are in Jefferies Bay while a number of men had gone into the Lesotho Mountains for ancestral rituals [approx. 6 weeks duration]. Chaplain Taljard, from Port Elizabeth is following up on the situation.
In discussions with the families, certain needs came to light, one being the shortages of electricity coupons, food and provisions.
The Department of Social Services in Humansdorp are organizing distribution of parcels supplied by the Sailors’ Society Welfare Funds. Linda is helping with the entrepreneurial training to help them earn an income.
Wanting to distribute some gifts for Christmas to the crew members of the Maredon, contact was made with Sharnae Hopewell of the East London branch of Sailors Society. She made up packs of beanies and mittens which have been sent to the Captain of the vessel for distribution.
Such generosity from the small town of East London on the east coast of South Africa – one that doesn’t see many seafarers in its port, but one who, being a part of the wider work of the Sailors’ Society in Southern Africa, are only too keen to participate in the Share Your Christmas with a Seafarer Project – one that reaches even into the lives of those who have suffered a major disaster.
In this case it was the Maredon. The Crisis Response team were on hand to offer assistance and counselling after the incident and now the survivors will be blessed with gifts to help them celebrate Christmas.
Our sincere thanks go to the ladies of the Cambridge Presbyterian Church who faithfully produce beanies and mittens for this project – and also to the many, many other churches, associations and individuals who also support the SYCS Project throughout the year.