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New seafarers centre plan for Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 12:25 07 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:33 03 July 2010

A SEAFARERS centre could soon be opening at Great Yarmouth port, providing sailors with somewhere to send emails and make phone calls home.

The last Great Yarmouth International Seafarers Centre was forced to close in 2004 due to work to extend the harbour wall, but now Yarmouth port chaplain the Rev Peter Paine is hoping to revive the centre in a mobile building costing £25,000 - and which will coincide with the opening of the Outer Harbour.

A SEAFARERS centre could soon be opening at Great Yarmouth port, providing sailors with somewhere to send emails and make phone calls home.

The last Great Yarmouth International Seafarers Centre was forced to close in 2004 due to work to extend the harbour wall, but now Yarmouth port chaplain the Rev Peter Paine is hoping to revive the centre in a mobile building costing £25,000 - and which will coincide with the opening of the Outer Harbour.

However, the seafarers committee is yet to put forward a plan and budget for the centre, which will be decided at the next meeting on December 3.

Mr Paine will then approach EastPort to try to secure land for the new centre, which will measure 24ftx9ft.

He hoped the centre would have computer, phone and fax facilities enabling the sailors to email or call home, as well as having somewhere the visitors could rest and relax, a library and a small chapel.

Currently, he caters for the sailors' needs from his car.

The only other alternative was for the seafarers to go into town, but very often they did not have enough time to do this between sailings.

He said the centre would also provide him with somewhere to work.

The seafarers committee will apply to the maritime charities for the £25,000 and will then appeal to local businesses for donations to cover the centre's £5,000-£6,000 annual running costs.

Mr Paine added most ports across the country had a seafarers centre, including nearby Felixstowe and Ipswich, and it was important that Yarmouth also had one, especially with many more sailors arriving once the Outer Harbour is fully up-and-running.

He said: “From my point of view, as soon as they get the first commercial vessel into the Outer Harbour then that would be the time when we would need the centre. The sailors will want to go there to do these things.”

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