Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) supported a crew member from the ship ‘Crown Topaz’ who suffered a perforated ulcer and had to be airlifted to hospital in Falmouth.
AoS Falmouth & Fowey port chaplain John Pinhay was made aware that a Ukrainian seaman had been airlifted off the ship located at sea 60 miles off the Isles of Scilly.
The seafarer spoke no English and was very disorientated when he arrived in hospital.
John’s doesn’t speak Ukrainian and knew that he would need some help with translation.
Fortunately, a cross channel ferry the “Commodore Goodwill” had been undergoing a refit in Falmouth Docks and the majority of crew were from the Ukraine.
The Captain was British and did not hesitate in finding two Ukrainian stewardesses’ who volunteered to help.
The three of them visited the seaman in hospital but when they arrived was told that he had just been wheeled down to the theatre.
The Ukrainian stewardesses Yancheva and Synytsyna
“We were told he was very concerned about his valuables and was feeling very vulnerable and did not trust anyone.
“We left behind toiletries, chocolate, biscuits and the latest Ukrainian Newsletter, and some fruit provided by the ‘Commodore Goodwill,’” said John.
The following morning John and the stewardesses visited the seafarer again, but he was still very anxious.
He said he desperately needed a UK adaptor to charge his phone so that he could speak to his wife back home. He was also concerned about his luggage which remained on board his ship.
John was later able to provide him with an adaptor and also assured the man that his luggage was safe and sound.
On a subsequent visit at the weekend the seafarer was in much better spirits and no longer in pain. John (in photo below) put some money on a TV charge card so that the seaman could watch a Rugby match.
Two days later AoS ship visitor Simon Bromage and the stewardesses returned to hospital again to find a cheerful seafarer who was subsequently discharged the following day and then flew back home to get further care and rest.
John reflects, “When recalling the events that had taken place, my mind automatically recalled Matthew 25: 34 – 40. The Captain and two stewardesses (Yancheva and Synytsyna) did not hesitate to offer help and assistance to someone in need. We went to a stranger, who we had never met and will probably never see again, but as Port Chaplains, it is what we do.
It is a lesson to take on board when you consider the two ladies gave freely of their time on four occasions within seven days to help. This is of course what all our volunteers and ship visitors do week in and week out; God Bless them all.”