Our Malta port chaplain Fr Joe Borg has been instrumental in providing a safe haven for a group of seafarers who were left stranded when their ship ran aground in Qawra Point, Malta.
The seven crew members from the bunkering tanker Hephaestus, were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs after their ship ran aground on February 10, the day when Malta commemorates the shipwreck of St Paul on the Island at almost the spot some 2,000 years ago.
Fr Joe, who runs the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Seafarers' Centre in Valetta gave them accommodation at Centre, and looked after them while arrangements were made for their return home.
The men had access to the Internet, WiFi, television and a fully-equipped kitchen in the Centre, named Dar MV Moor, after the ship which sank in World War II resulting in the loss of 28 Maltese seafarers.
Fr Joe also received donations of clothes, food and toiletries from friends and the local community after making appeals at Mass.
These provisions ensured that the crew’s 18-day stay at the Centre was made as comfortable as possible and their basic needs were catered for.
The Togo-registered ship ran into trouble when it was hit by strong winds and rough seas. To add to their woes, the crew, comprising four Bangladeshi, two Russians and an Egyptian had also not been paid their wages for several months.
Home away from home the Dar MV Moor Seafarers Centre.
Fr Joe said, “Their plight has ended on a positive note. They were paid the wages owed to them and have returned home to their families. Before leaving, the captain, on behalf of the crew, thanked me and the Maltese people for our generosity.”
He added, “I never expected that the Seafarers’ Centre would have to accommodate shipwrecked seafarers. Although they had been through a terrible ordeal, the men were grateful to find safe shelter, food and friendship provided by AoS and the local community.”