DUCKDALBEN International Seamen's Club
This year the judges of the Seafarer Centre of the Year have decided to award DUCKDALBEN International Seamen's Club with a 2016 Judges' Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers. Shortlisted on four previous occasions, and winning in 2011, they are a leading centre which has consistently provided a high calibre of welfare to seafarers. Based in the Port of Hamburg, the centre has always prided itself on being a home from home for seafarers. Their deep understanding of the unique difficulties and needs of seafarers has been gained over 30 years of experience. With a large team of well trained staff and volunteers, they have 30,000 visitors a year using their facilities. Opening 364 days a year, they provide a range of services essential to support seafarers on and off shore.
The centre is a cosy and welcoming building, decorated with objects of curiosity from the maritime world. Offering comforts such as free WiFi, computers, telephones, a well-stocked shop, game, karaoke, a library, and a popular bar, the centre provides a place where a seafarer can enjoy shore leave, and relax off-ship in a safe and social environment.
The centre also provides support to any seafarer in difficulty. They offer a friendly ear in times of emotional need, a free medical service if a seafarer has a health issue, and work with the ITF to provide practical support in those times where a seafarer may need support in a legal matter. The team provides ship visits for those who cannot get to shore, and also visits seafarers in hospital or even in prison. There is a multi-denominational chapel that is available for anyone to sit peacefully inside and engage with their own beliefs.
DUCKDALBEN International Seamen's Club continues to offer a human warmth and hospitality which, alongside the outstanding facilities on offer, has more than earned the centre this award.