Visa restrictions and short turnarounds mean many seafarers stay in port after docking, so seafarers’ centres can provide a welcome space to unwind and get in touch with loved ones back home.
In her short documentary ‘Seafarers’, Eleanor Mortimer observes how the crew of a cargo ship spend their shore leave at Felixstowe Seafarers’ Centre – a small space with a pool table, piano and souvenir shop which forms the only impression the seafarers will have of the United Kingdom.
‘I felt that with this film I would be able to tell the story of a certain disconnect between the seafarers and the places they are going to (or passing through), like Felixstowe,’ Eleanor Mortimer told the New York Times. ‘The international shipping trade depends entirely on these guys, but they have very few rights and freedoms in the places they stop at during their long journeys working far from home. It is thanks to the Seafarers association and its volunteers, which run the centre, that they have anywhere to go at all.’
The video can be viewed here.