BY Ryan McDougall | February 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Report highlights AoS chaplains’ role in combating piracy at sea

Scottish MPs help launch report on the work of a Glasgow-founded Catholic seafarers’ charity—and how it helps combat piracy

The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is a Scottish-born charity that now operates all over the world providing spiritual and practical help, care and friendship to seafarers.

Their recently published ‘Life at Sea report 2018’ highlights the needs of workers at sea, including the necessity for ‘swift intervention’ to reduce the impact pirate attacks can have physically and mentally on those affected.

The report states that there was a 62 per cent increase of seafarers taken hostage by pirates when compared with 2017.

In the first half of 2018 alone, 107 piracy-related incidents were reported, including 11 incidents of ships being fired at, and four hijackings.

The report, written by John Green, director of developments for AoS, highlights the ‘lasting effect’ a pirate attack, or the threat of piracy can have on a seafarer’s mental health and wellbeing.


Supporting families

In the first six months of 2018, AoS, or Stella Maris as it is known in other parts of the world, supported three crews and their families affected by piracy.

One case study shown in the report looks into an incident in which a cargo vessel was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.

AoS was contacted by the Protection and Indemnity Club, a maritime insurance organisation, who requested help from the charity.

The report adds: “Our chaplain went to meet the ship as it took refuge in Ghana, and brought two volunteers, both nurses specialising in mental health trauma.

“Through coordination in London, the crew were met in Manila by representatives of the ship management company and a member of our team.

“The seafarers had a two-day debrief in a local hotel before going home to spend time with their families. They were also referred to local chaplains for additional support, if needed.”


Political endorsement

The report was launched at Westminster with the support of Scottish Catholic MPs Patrick Grady and Carol Monaghan.

Mr Grady said: “It was a privilege to host the Apostleship of the Sea in the House of Commons, launching their new report and recognising the vital pastoral support the organisation provides to seafarers.

“There was a fantastic cross-party attendance of MPs, including a speech from the UK transport minister, and an important reminder after a dramatic week in Westminster about life outside the bubble.”

AoS, which was founded in Glasgow in 1920, celebrates its centenary next year.

Mr Grady added: “AoS is an important ministry of the Church and example of social teaching and Faith in action.”


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