TO MARK International Day of the Seafarer on June 25, seafarers around Bunbury and Esperance in Western Australia will be given the opportunity to get on their bike.

Shaking off wobbly sea legs with a bike ride will be made possible with the gift of new bikes donated by Southern Ports to the Mission to Seafarers.

The bikes, along with helmets and locks, will be available to those on shore leave to explore the local area giving access to a wider range of activities to better enjoy their time while onshore.

Southern Ports Chief Executive Officer Keith Wilks said an increase in trade over previous years meant more vessels and more seafarers were visiting the regions.

“Last year alone we welcomed more than 18,000 international seafarers into our three ports, many of those who have heard just how special our regions are,” Mr Wilks said.

The invaluable contributions of the more than 1.89 million seafarers globally will be celebrated on Tuesday (25 June) during the annual International Day of the Seafarer.

Ships are responsible for the transport of more than 80% of international trade annually and are reliant on their seafarer crews, who often spend nine months of a year at sea.

Chair and Chaplain of Bunbury Mission to Seafarers, Very Reverend Darryl Cotton said the group is grateful to Southern Ports for its ongoing support.

“The little creature comforts we provide to seafarers when they visit our ports can really lift their spirits,” Reverend Cotton said.

“If they’ve been at sea for months, getting to ride a bike to do some of your own shopping or just to see the sites during their short time ashore has a substantial benefit on a seafarer’s mental wellbeing. It has been so great to able to offer our visitors something new to get out and do in Bunbury.”

Esperance Mission to Seafarers Volunteer Fred Lochowicz said the new initiative has already been extremely popular.

“Seafarers have already been making use of the new bikes to take in our beautiful coastline, explore the local shops and visit local attractions,” Mr Lochowicz said.