BY Ryan McDougall | March 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

AoS deacon joe with seafarers (1)

‘Stella Maris will always have a place in our hearts,’ say crewmen rescued from abusive skipper

A Catholic seafaring charity has said farewell to a crew of fishermen from the Philippines who suffered racist abuse.

The Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris) had been tending to the five crewmen, whose skipper was convicted at Peterhead Sheriff Court in January for racially aggravated harassment and assault over a period of six years.
The five had been in Scotland for eight months, but have returned to their families in the Philippines. Though they will have to spend a month in quarantine, due to the coronavirus, they thanks Stella Maris for their hospitality and support.
One crewman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s been a very difficult time. We have had to suffer a lot.
‘Family’ support
“But it would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the support and assistance from Stella Maris. They have been like a family to us.”
The AoS provided pastoral and spiritual support to the me who were given a lift to Glasgow Airport by AoS senior regional port chaplain Deacon Joe O’Donnell.
The crewman added: “Deacon Joe has been there for each of us every step of the way.
“He made sure we were alright and has always been in touch to help with our worries.
“One of the highlights came when he arranged for Bishop John Keenan of Paisley to come and visit us. We would love to return to Scotland one day, and Stella Maris will always have a place in our hearts.”
Racial abuse
Skipper Gordon Hadden, admitted racially harassing and assaulting seafarers aboard his ship Serenity between August 2013 and August 2019.
He admitted striking one man on the head, placing him in a headlock and pushing him against the railings of the ship in July last year in what was a racially aggravated assault.
He was fined £2,000 for harassment and a further £1,00 for the assault.
Deacon O’Donnell said: “I can only imagine what it must have been like for them being cut off from their families and loved ones for such a long time, and even now they’re being quarantined for a month because of the pandemic.
“Yet this is why Stella Maris (AoS) exists to provide such help and assistance in times if crisis. I’ll be keeping in contact with them and hopefully they’ll all get back to some sort of normality in the near future.”

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