Port chaplains are making the digital transition to adapt and continue their welfare service support for seafarers and fishing vessel crews during the coronavirus pandemic.
Global maritime charity Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) says while its chaplains and ship visitors have stopped ship visiting until further notice, the charity remains active in providing care and assistance to the people of the sea in the UK and overseas.
'Seafarers and fishers around the world are among the heroes of this pandemic. Our chaplains and ship visitors continue to make themselves available to support [crew] via social media, email, mobile phone and WhatsApp,' Stella Maris chief executive Martin Foley said.
'Our chaplains are putting together support packages for seafarers and fishers comprising faith materials (particularly important for Christian seafarers as Easter approaches), basic toiletries, SIM cards, chocolate, woolly hats and other useful items as well as messages and cards of encouragement.'
Stella Maris was working with port authorities to ensure the packages reach seafarers and fishers safely and securely and thanked its supporters who have responded so generously to our request for help with these packages. Port health authories give all ships a clean bill of health before allowing contact with crew.
Woolly knitted hats were well received by some of the 3,000 crew helped by a combined effort from seafaring charities last week, while they waited on the docks at Tilbury Port for airport transfers while being repatriated overeas.
Mr Foley said Stella Maris will also be providing useful information and signposting for seafarers and fishers to appropriate resources so they can stay safe, well and positive throughout this uncertain time. These will be made available on its social media channels, e-newsletters and website.