Santos decided to become a seaman following in the steps of his older brother and also his father, who’s been a seaman for 35 years. ‘There aren’t many job opportunities for young people in Cape Verde, my home country. If you want to study you need to stop working. And if you stop working, you cannot earn a living, so I just decided to follow my father’s advice and become a seaman.’
Santos’s job is to check whether any of the containers left any damage to the ship and if the vessel is in position properly, as well as checking gangways and latching. ‘I’ve been out at sea for about nine months now. I find this very hard, as I have two daughters and now I also have a baby, who I haven’t seen yet, only in photos.’
‘I want to stay in my job, I really like it, but it’s hard not to see my loved ones for such a long time. I really struggle with that at times.’
Santos was very happy to find out there was a Seafarers’ Centre at Tilbury Port. ‘I can do mobile top ups there or ask to go ashore to do some shopping or even visit London. It makes a nice change to your usual routine whilst at sea.’
In 2016, Seafarers UK awarded a grant of £15,000 to Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, to fund the operation of the London Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre.
See all grants awarded by Seafarers UK or go back to case studies.
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