Over 30 000 seamen representing some sixty different nationalities call at the Port of Nantes − Saint Nazaire every year. Formed into associations, volunteers join forces in order to reach out to these seafarers, to identify any needs and to propose suitable services: on-board visits, mediation, interpreting, information about local commercial outlets and place of interest, religious observance, sports, transport, contact with families by telephone or audiovisual media, and so on.
Two associations work at the port facilities on the Loire Estuary: one for the upriver section, the other for the downriver section. Each has its own minibus and seamen’s club.
These associations are financed by the Nantes − Saint Nazaire Seafarers’ Welfare Council, which collects and redistributes the funds provided by the Nantes − Saint Nazaire Port Authority and by the local representatives of shipping lines. Both also receive technical or financial support from Local Government. The activities of the associations are overseen by the Nantes − Saint Nazaire Port Commission for Seafarers’ Welfare, which is chaired by the Prefect for the Department of Loire Atlantique.