FEEL AT HOME: At the Mission to Seafarers in Gladstone are Ferdinend Dadia, Benjie Salarda, Alipate Tuineau and tour guide Roel Obina.
FEEL AT HOME: At the Mission to Seafarers in Gladstone are Ferdinend Dadia, Benjie Salarda, Alipate Tuineau and tour guide Roel Obina. Brenda Strong

Chaplain makes a special place for seafarers

ALIPATE Tuineau is a bus driver, a spiritual companion and a shoulder to lean on for seafarers during all legs of their journey.

The chaplain at Mission to Seafarers hopes to make a difference to the lives of mariners, creating a space as special to them as it is to himself.

"Many seafarers who visit have been at sea for extended periods of time, some up to eight months," he said.

"It's important that we provide a space for them to relax, to socialise and have a chance to get on the internet and connect with people. It means a lot to them."

Mr Tuineau has been associated with the organisation for almost 18 months, and his job description knows no limits.

"I am a friend, a counsellor, a helping hand and sometimes family," he said.

"If someone has been transferred from a ship to the hospital, I will visit them and check up on them."

But services offered at Mission to Seafarers do not end there.

If a visitor requires a change of clothes, a place to charge their phone or a quiet place to play pool with some mates, it can all be found under the one roof on the corner of Alf O'Rourke Dr and Bryan Jordan Dr.

Mr Tuineau said his role was especially significant in the lead-up to Christmas, as many of the people he met would spend the day alone.

"I love it here because I meet a lot of new people most days, and I can feel the difference we make in their lives."

Volunteers are welcome. Inquire between 1-10pm.



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