The Flying Angel
At the Abu Dhabi Middle East Workboats Exhibition in October 2009, Topaz announced its sponsorship of the Flying Angel project, a seafarer support vessel owned and operated by the maritime charity, the ‘Mission to Seafarers’. Founded in England in 1856, and operating in the Gulf since 1962, the Mission is a charitable organisation devoted to seafarers around the world, irrespective of colour, race, faith or belief. In 2006, Reverend Stephen Miller, the Director of the Mission in Dubai, had the vision to commission the construction of a purpose-built seafarer support vessel that could provide thousands of sailors who are at sea for months at a time with the basic amenities that most of us take for granted, such as communicating with loved ones.
To build and launch this “guardian angel” of the sea, the Reverend Miller had the daunting task of raising over one million dollars. Once completed, an equally daunting challenge remained, raising the funds required to run and maintain the vessel. This is where Topaz stepped in, announcing its sponsorship of the vessel’s operations for one full year. Under this very special sponsorship, Topaz uses its considerable vessel management infrastructure to absorb all the running costs of the Flying Angel, which last year reached $380,000. In doing so, many thousands of mariners can enjoy its basic comforts, as well as the opportunity to contact loved ones using the Flying Angel’s satellite phones and Internet. They can also unwind by using library resources, entertainment facilities or simply through conversation with fellow seafarers and the on-board Chaplain.
The Reverend Miller said in a statement, “I am very pleased that Topaz Energy and Marine has taken the initiative to sponsor the work of M/V Flying Angel. It is particularly pertinent given the global downturn, that Topaz continues to place the welfare of seafarers at the top of their CSR program, giving a lead to the maritime industry with this important initiative. We are very pleased to welcome Topaz aboard.”
Topaz considers it an honor and a privilege to be able to give something back to the sea and the seafarers that have given us so much. In supporting the Flying Angel and the Mission to Seafarers, Topaz hopes to improve the quality of life for as many at sea as we can.
In addition to the main sponsorship, Topaz shows its continued commitment to the cause by participating in various fundraising initiatives organized by the Mission to Seafarers. Topaz recently contributed six runners to the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in addition to joining an expedition to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, raising significant sums in the progress.
Today, the Flying Angel, still the only seafarer’s support vessel of its kind, visits over five vessels and welcomes over 75 seafarers on board daily. Topaz is proud to be part of this important initiative and to contribute to the improvement of the lives of Mariners by supporting the Mission to Seafarers.
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