Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is enhancing cooperation among its global network of port chaplains to better support seafarers.
A regional coordinators meeting in Mauritius late last month saw the exchange of knowledge and expertise between port chaplains from Great Britain, East Africa, South Africa and the Indian Ocean.
AoS Immingham port chaplain Fr Colum Kelly from Great Britain was invited by the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People to give five presentations at the conference.
“My remit was to encourage the participants and help them deepen their understanding of their chaplaincy, ” said Fr Colum.
“In addition to sharing our experiences and knowledge with one another we also discussed the importance of taking time for self- reflection, and how we as port chaplains need to prepare for our ‘voyage of chaplaincy’ to better assist seafarers, ” he added.
AoS Great Britain National Director Martin Foley said, “This is a great example of the international cooperation we agreed to undertake at the AoS World Congress in 2012. The sharing of our respective knowledge, experiences and strengths will benefit everyone associated with AoS and, by extension, further improve our service to seafarers.”
One of the delegates, AoS South Africa National Director Terry Whitfield said, “The conference was enriched with the presence of Fr Colum. His talks were both interesting and thought-provoking, and with his own practical experience it left us all with a new commitment.”
Another port chaplain, AoS Madagascar National Director Felix Randriabnasoavina said Fr Colum’s sharing helped him deepen his commitment to AoS and to serve seafarers.
Last year, Fr Colum was given an award in honour of his outstanding contribution to the life of the port of Immingham as part of the port’s 100 year celebrations.
His work with seafarers was also featured in a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week titled Deepsea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Brings You 90% of Everything by author Rose George.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Fr Colum turned his work with seafarers into a ‘mobile’ operation after the seafarers centre in Immingham was destroyed following last year’s tidal surge.
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 shipsvisit 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 firstname.lastname@example.org