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Sea Cadets from the Netherlands and Belgium recently enjoyed a visit to Shoreham Port while on a celebratory trip to the South Coast of England. Travelling aboard the TS Zeefakkel, the party arrived at the Port having visited Southend-On-Sea and the Isle of Wight during their 2-week round trip.
The group’s visit to the UK was organised in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Zeekadetkorps (Sea Cadets Corps) in the Dutch Town of Hellevoetsluis, located to the south of Rotterdam. Cadets from Hellevoetsluis were joined by Cadets from the Belgian city of Leuven for the celebratory trip to the UK.
Much like their British counterparts, the Dutch and Belgian Sea Cadets Corps are registered youth charities that specialise in teaching young people ages 11-17 years old marine skills such as the core activities of sailing, rowing and navigation. The group’s visit to the UK was organised by Chris dé Blocq van Kuffeler, Liaison Officer at both the British and Dutch Sea Cadet organisations as well as secretary of the Bideford Sea Cadets. While visiting Shoreham, the group met with Hove and Adur Sea Cadets, who are stationed at Lizard Boating Station near Maxwell Wharf at Shoreham Port, for an evening parade.
Recognising the importance of the Sea Cadets to the maritime industry, as well as the value of the culture exchange between the British and European Sea Cadets, Shoreham Port’s Community and Stakeholder Request (CSR) group agreed to contribute towards the group’s stay at the Port.
Harold Smit, Commanding Officer of the TS Zeefakkel commented “We have had a successful visit to the UK and thank you to Shoreham Port for welcoming us this week. Our Cadets enjoyed joining the Hove and Adur Sea Cadets for a parade in the evening, which was a worthwhile opportunity to share skills and learn from one another.”
Colin, Hellevoetsluis Sea Cadet commented ‘I have enjoyed our commemorative trip so far and meeting the other Sea Cadets in Southend-On-Sea and Shoreham. I have also celebrated my 18th birthday at the Port this week!”
The ship Zeefakkel, whose name translates to ‘sea torch’, was originally commissioned in the 1950s by the Royal Netherlands Navy. Previously used to carry out hydrographical studies in the North Sea and as a technical school for training nautical officers, the vessel was later bought by Hellevoetsluis Sea Cadets Corps in 2003 and received a major refit following a fire in 2011.
The group also had a visit from Captain Wolter Sillevis Smitt, Defence and Naval Attaché for the Netherlands in the United Kingdom, who came on board at Shoreham for a tour of the ship and joined the cadets for lunch. The visit was particularly special for the Captain as he previously served on the Zeefakkel while it was a training naval ship during his time as an officer over 20 years ago.
Julian Seaman, Harbour Master at Shoreham Port commented “We were very happy to facilitate a visit from the Hellevoetsluis Sea Cadets Corps at the Port this week. Both locally and internationally, Sea Cadets are essential in inspiring young mariners and strengthening an interest in maritime; something we are passionate about at Shoreham Port. We wish the Cadets a safe journey home and a fantastic 40th anniversary celebration.”