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Grieving crew consoled by members of Stella Maris mission

Reaching out: Port of Brisbane chaplain, Fr Frank O’Dea conducts a dockside service for a Filipino crew grieving the death of their captain.

BRISBANE’S Stella Maris seafarers mission has provided prayers and pastoral support for a grieving ship’s crew after their captain died suddenly at sea.

The cargo carrier Sofrana Tourville 2 docked in Brisbane on June 16, and its 18-member Filipino crew requested the services of a priest after the vessel’s captain’s death en route from Noumea.

Members of Centacare’s Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centre were alerted and Port chaplain Fr Frank O’Dea conducted a service, consoling the crew, and offering blessings for the deceased, the crew, and their vessel.

To adhere to strict COVID-19 distancing measures, the service took place on the dock with the crew watching from on board.

“They were very receptive and thankful for what we did for them,” Centacare’s Barry Guest said.

“We couldn’t go on board because the ship hadn’t been quarantined for long enough. “We stood on the wharf and interacted with the crew from there.”

Mr Guest says he recognised some of the crew because they had previously visited the port and visited the Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centre. “Of course that was before the COVID-19 restrictions,” he said. “At the moment it is tough times for crews.”

Centacare’s Apostleship of the Sea, part of an international mission for seafarers, is based at the Stella Maris centre in Wynnum, near the Port of Brisbane.

The purpose of the mission is to care for the spiritual, social, and material welfare seafarers from all over the world, many who spend up to nine months at sea.

Since March, Mr Guest said they had delivered more than 430 care packages to crews unable to come ashore in Brisbane.

Each package includes useful personal items like shampoo, body wash, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a beanie and snack foods.

Instead of boarding vessels, Mr Guest and fellow workers leave the packages on the gangway so they can be collected.

Donations for care packs including men’s toiletries, biscuits, lollies, snack foods can be left at the Stella Maris Office, Wynnum.

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