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TIN news:   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.



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