BY Daniel Harkins | March 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

18 Aos AoS Reverend Roger Stone

Catholic seafarers charity assists Ukrainian sailors

The Apostleship of the Sea is offering help to those affected by the upheaval in Ukraine as tensions mount with Russia over the Crimea

Catholic seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is continuing to assist Ukrainian seafarers arriving at ports in the UK.

The charity’s port chaplains up and down the country are offering practical help such as providing internet connections for Ukrainian crew to contact their families back home.

“I met two who live very near Crimea,” AoS Southampton port chaplain Rev Roger Stone (above), who is supporting Ukrainian seafarers, said. “One is Ukrainian, the other half Russian, and half Ukrainian. We discussed the situation in Ukraine. Their view is that we are all human beings and national identity comes second.

“They are very worried about the situation, as are their families back in the Ukraine. I promised to remember that at mass. One is going home to Ukraine in the next few days and is wondering what exactly he is going home to.”

Bishop Peter Stasiuk—maritime bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Synod of Bishops—has asked for prayers for Ukrainian seafarers.

“Many of you sail in ships where there are Ukrainian crew members, many of them from Southern Ukraine,” the bishop said in a message to seafarers worldwide. “For them particularly, being away from home is difficult. They simply do not know what will happen to their families. On behalf of your fellow seafarers who are worried about their homes and families, please pray for peace and stability in Ukraine.”

Also paramount is the safety of seafarers whose ships are arriving at Ukrainian ports. Several major shipping lines have already stated they are prepared to take necessary measures to keep their crew and activities safe and are closely monitoring the situation as their vessels call at Ukrainian ports.

Ince & Co, an international law firm who specialise in maritime law, says that while the state of affairs in Ukraine remained fluid, an escalation of tensions and any military action may have repercussion for shipping, including crew. There are an estimated 39,000 Ukrainian seafarers worldwide, making the country a major supplier of seafarers.


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