BRISBANE’S Apostleship of the Sea is appealing for help to increase the number of care packs offered to needy seafarers visiting the city’s port during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apostleship of the Sea, under the umbrella of Centacare Pastoral Ministries, operates from the Stella Maris Mission to Seafarers Centre at Wynnum, on Brisbane’s southern bayside, to welcome and support visiting crews taking a break from months of hardship on the oceans.
Centacare Pastoral Ministries director Judy Norris said as more seafarers felt the effects of restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Apostleship of the Sea aimed to offer more care packs to crews docking on the northside of the Brisbane River.
“This (COVID-19 restrictions) is going to go on for a long time and the plight of seafarers worldwide is becoming more known, and people are becoming more aware of how the lockdowns are affecting them,” Mrs Norris said.
“Even when they’re getting home at the end of their contracts (they face restrictions), they’re not allowed off the ships anywhere; technically they can but captains don’t want that to happen in case they bring (the virus) back on the ship …
“So we’re making a much greater effort to take care packs to the berths on the northside of the river.”
The care packs (pictured) will include items like soaps, deodorants, toiletries; non-perishable treats like packets of biscuits, chips and lollies; and packs of playing cards.
Mrs Norris said the aim was to provide some of the items that would run short during extended periods at sea, especially if crew members were unable to disembark on arrival in port.
Meanwhile, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has reported on the Church’s efforts in offering pastoral care to the crew of the Ruby Princess, a cruise ship linked to more than 600 cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths from the virus.
The ACBC reported that the bishop promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea Bishop Bosco Puthur had written to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian calling state authorities to ensure the welfare of the crew was not forgotten.
Bishop Puthur offered the support of the Australian Apostleship of the Sea network through its Stella Maris centres to complement the work of government and health authorities in offering support.
Chaplain to seafarers within Sydney ports Josephite Sister Mary Leahy sent a video message to the crew, offering the hope of the resurrection and the hope and joy “that is part and parcel of the Easter story”.
“By any standards, you have done the suffering. And you deserve the best resurrection you can possibly have this Easter,” Sr Leahy said.
The Ruby Princess left Australia on April 23.
To donate to Centacare Pastoral Ministries’ Apostleship of the Sea go to its giving page: http://catholicfoundation.org.au/centacare/seafarers