MISSION to Seafarers has opened a new centre at Port Walcott in the Pilbara.

Port Walcott is the location of Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert wharf iron ore loading facility.

Rio Tinto’s marine manager – Campier and Cape Lambert operations Storm Nuttall said Rio Tinto joined Mission to Seafarers for the opening on Friday 17 November.

She said Port Walcott welcomed nearly 1200 vessels in the past year and around 26,000 visits from crewmembers.

“As the largest dry bulk shipper in the world, Rio Tinto undertakes 2700 voyages a year using 17 of our own vessels and 230 chartered ships,” Ms Nuttall wrote in a social media post.

“This means that seafarers play a critical role in our business and their health and well-being is incredibly important.

“Until now, high costs and transport times to Dampier restricted shore leave for seafarers docked at Port Walcott, however thanks to our partnership with Mission to Seafarers, our crews can now enjoy shore leave at Port Walcott, traveling into Wickham via a complimentary bus service.”

This new centre was opened in addition to the seafarers centre in Dampier, which is about an hour’s drive away from Port Walcott.

The new centre aims to provide support for seafarers’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs; a space where they can relax; and access to the local Wickham town amenities including the supermarket, bar and post office.