Seafarers have been anxiously trying to contact families for news following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan that has reportedly killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines.
Apostleship of the Sea port chaplains visiting ships over the weekend have been helping seafarers receive news of the tragedy.
Sr Marian Davey, Felixstowe port chaplain, spent the weekend assisting Filipino seafarers whose homes and families have been affected by the major storms back home:
“I spoke with one seafarer who had just come onboard and received news that his house had been destroyed. He had just started his contract and not yet received any salary.”
The Apostleship of the Sea in the Philippines provides help for seafarers, their families and fishing communities.
With fishing fleets in the area of the typhoon destroyed by the near-200mph winds and 6 mile storm surge, longer-term assistance will be needed to help these communities.
The Apostleship of the Sea has a seafarers’ centre in the port of Cebu, an area greatly affected by the typhoon.
In the port of Immingham, Fr Colum Kelly will celebrate a Mass on Wednesday evening uniting the local Filipino community with visiting seafarers in prayers for those killed and those whose lives have been devastated by the typhoon.
National Director Martin Foley said:
“AoS in the Philippines, together with other agencies, is working to provide immediate assistance for the many whose lives are bound up with the sea. In Great Britain our port chaplains will be providing news, practical and spiritual support to Filipino seafarers at this tragic time”.
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.