Apostleship of the Sea’s responds to needs of cruise ships
December 10th 2013
AoS’ cruise chaplains provide onboard support for typhoon-hit crew
Apostleship of the Sea’s (AoS) is responding to the needs of cruise ship crew affected by Typhoon Haiyan as it emerges that many are still unable to contact their families in the Philippines.
At the request of Carnival UK, a major cruise operator, the seafarers’ welfare charity has to date deployed 20 cruise chaplains onboard nine cruise ships worldwide to assist crewmembers.
AoS’ chaplains have been helping crew deal with missing relatives and destroyed homes, as well as providing practical support such as phone cards.
Southampton chaplain Reverend Roger Stone who sailed on two cruise ships says he spent a lot of time listening and comforting crew.
“One man lost many members of his family. Several were anxiously waiting to learn whether their parents, siblings and children were alive. One female seafarer is still waiting to speak to her mother and daughter although she now knows they are alive.
“Crew are staying on board to earn money to pay for food and repair their homes. The cost of everything has gone up so they need to do this more than ever,” he said, adding he had provided many with free phone cards, internet access and money to send to their families.
Another cruise chaplain, Father Paul Fitzpatrick, was on board a vessel with around 200 Filipino crew.
“The crew are like family and have a close bond between them. All of them have to a greater or lesser degree been affected by the typhoon and Filipino crew.”
AoS, through its global network of port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers has also been involved in assisting seafarers and fishing communities hit by typhoon Haiyan, with a focus on providing long term support.