WISTA Bermuda Donates Christmas Boxes

December 21, 2021

The local chapter of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association [WISTA] joined with three shipping lines to “celebrate the unsung heroes of our global economy.”

A spokesperson said, “This marks the third successive year that WISTA Bermuda have thoughtfully filled boxes with curated items to both celebrate and inspire vulnerable segments of our community. WISTA Bermuda started hosting the annual shoebox gift wrap social in 2019 with seniors on the hardship list being the initial beneficiaries.

On board the MV Somers Isle vessel – Cheryl Hayward Chew, the Captain and crew

WISTA Bermuda December 2021 (1)

“Fittingly, this year WISTA members and friends gathered, networked and socialised at Bermuda Sailors Home to prepare festive boxes for the seafarers that visit our Hamilton ports.”

Cheryl Hayward-Chew said, “While each link in Bermuda’s supply chain is critical, these three dedicated cargo carriers provide the lifeline between our local and global economy.

“Therefore it was ironic and meaningful to present gifts of toiletries to the crew, items that we in Bermuda take for granted and brought to our shores by their labour.”

The spokesperson said, “Butterfield and Vallis, BGA, Janice Gutteridge and other WISTA members generously donated items and that were assembled by President Angelique Burgess; Directors Cheryl Hayward-Chew, Heather Cooper, Carmen Tucker, Donnelle Swan; Secretary Jennie Kelly; Members Laura Blee-DeFrais, Chamaigne Dill, Wendy Percy and Linnell Williams.

WISTA members from starting from bottom of ladder Linnell Williams, Laura Blee-De-Frias and Cheryl Hayward-Chew presenting to the Captain of the MV Oleander

WISTA Bermuda December 2021 (2)

“Following WISTA Bermuda’s inaugural dialogue on seafarer’s welfare in the age of Covid-19 and keeping the global economy moving, the idea was born to provide gift packages to seafarers who call at Bermuda. The webinar, in which guest speaker Dr. Jason Zuidema Executive Director of the North American Maritime Ministry Association presented, enriched our understanding and sharpened our focus on the important role of seafarers.”

Tammy L Richardson-Augustus, Press Officer of WISTA Bermuda, said, “This is particularly true in Bermuda given over 98% of Bermuda’s imported goods passes through the City of Hamilton docks.”

The spokesperson said, “Seafaring is synonymous with extreme weather, long contracts, limited crew changes, restricted shore leave, absence of creature comforts, minimal medical care, confinement, difficulty repatriating, lack of connectivity and extended isolation from loved ones. Many of the hallmarks of the profession predispose seaferers to heightened stress and anxiety – which were only magnified during the pandemic. These boxes will hopefully help the recipient seafarers, who play an integral role in our global economy, to weather the long days at sea.

WISTA member Jennie Kelly presenting to the Captain of the MV Bermuda Islander

WISTA Bermuda December 2021 (3)

“The gift boxes brimming with personal care items and seasonal treats were hand delivered to the crew onboard the MV Somers Isle, MV Bermuda Islander and MV Oleander by WISTA members and representatives of each of the three lines.”

Angelique Burgess, WISTA President, said, “Given the pandemic and the challenges faced by seafarers in being unable to disembark when in port due to strict covid19 restrictions, it was agreed to gear the Christmas gift bags to the crew on board the three cargo lines that service Bermuda as an appreciation for their service.”

The spokesperson said, “The management of Bermuda Container Line, Bermuda International Shipping Ltd and Somers Isles Shipping Ltd, expressed their appreciation to WISTA Bermuda for their recognition of the crews of Bermuda’s three cargo lines, stating that in particular during the Christmas Season when we in Bermuda are enjoying time with friends and family, the crew on all three ships will spend their Christmas Day crossing the Atlantic.

WISTA members Heather Cooper, Cheryl Hayward-Chew, Angelique Burgess, Wendy Percy and Jennie Kelly

WISTA Bermuda December 2021 (4)

“WISTA Bermuda was delighted to be supported in this initiative by Bermuda’s three cargo lines. Their willing participation underscored that industry players are concerned to promote crew wellbeing and to take action to celebrate the unique contributions made by seafarers to international seaborne trade and civil society.

“The wellbeing of seafarers has a far-reaching resonance. WISTA Bermuda is pleased to have played a small part in the conversation among individuals, organizations, industry players that seafaring is a vital support mechanism for the world economy.”

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