Seafarers International closes guesthouse to outside visitors

The following is a letter from the Rev. Marsh Luther Drege of the Seafarers International House:

(NEW YORK) — We hope that you and your loved ones are doing well during this difficult and stressful time.

Due to the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), Seafarers International House has had to close its guesthouse to outside visitors and we can now only accommodate seafarers and asylees with no place else to go. We will continue to take care of them as long as it is safe for our reduced staff and our lodgers, but without outside guests and their occupancy income we are unsure how much longer we can serve those who are our mission guests.

At this time, eight seafarers and five asylees are staying with us. One seafarer told me just yesterday that he is unsure when he can ship out because shipping companies are not rotating crews at this time, and therefore he is so grateful that he has a place to stay during this storm of uncertainty.

Terminals visited by our chaplains in Baltimore and New Haven have been discouraging any onboard visits and do not allow seafarers shore leave for us to take them on errands, but our chaplains in Philadelphia and Newark are still able to reach out and assist seafarers at this time. Your contribution at this time will help keep our chaplains calling on ships as well as help us to keep our guesthouse open during these unprecedented times.

Thank you for being a friend of seafarers and asylees, those who are often unseen in regular times and now almost completely forgotten. May God bless us with strength and health to meet the days ahead.

By Professional Mariner Staff