Seafarers’ welfare charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has joined in this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations by saying ‘thank you’ to seafarers for their contributions.
The organisation held masses in London, Plymouth and Glasgow to remember and pray for seafarers and to thank them for the vital role they play in world trade.
The services were held at London’s St George’s Cathedral in Southwark, St Mary and St Boniface Cathedral in Plymouth and St Aloysius church in Glasgow on September 25.
Shipping continues to take huge steps forward in crew welfare but there remain cases where seafarers are still vulnerable to unscrupulous shipping practice and human rights abuses.
Like other migrants they tend to be invisible and because of the nature of their work in some tragic cases easily become victims of exploitation.’
AoS is therefore a rapid reaction team that responds to raw human need and cries for protection, said Bishop Tom Burns SM, AoS Bishop Promoter for England and Wales.
AoS port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers bring friendship and care into a hopeless situation, he said.
Such was the case when a container was found with 35 migrants – one of whom had died – on board the ferry, Norstream, at Tilbury port last month.
The crew were upset and distressed and AoS chaplains held a Mass and blessing for them following their request, and continued to support them through their ordeal.
In 40 ports up and down Great Britain and in 260 ports worldwide, AoS chaplains provide practical and pastoral assistance to seafarers in need, including arranging internet connection, raising emergency funds and holding services for crew.
Last year in Great Britain, AoS assisted 199, 360 seafarers and a total of 9, 968 ships were visited.
The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.
90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100, 000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.
AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores – regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.
For more information contact John Green, Director of Development on 020 7012 8607 or 07505653801 or email johngreen@apostleshipofthesea.