The blaze, said to have started in a cabin, broke out when the vessel was around 30 miles off the North Yorkshire coast at around 10.45pm on Saturday night. Once the ship had docked, following the fire, the AoS chaplain Paul Atkinson kept in touch with the crew to provide support and visited the ship on Monday to provide emotional and practical help for the crew, four of whom were airlifted off the ship following the fire, eight crew in total were treated by doctors for smoke-related injuries on board the ferry according to media reports.
The ferry and its crew are well known to Paul who visits it every week providing help such as transport for seafarers to get ashore, phone cards and internet top ups for crew to contact loved ones in their home countries.
In recent weeks Paul had distributed dozens of Christmas gifts to the ferry crew from local churches to bring some Christmas cheer to crew working during the festive season. Media reports said 946 passengers and 127 crew members were on board the ferry.
AoS Tyne port chaplain Paul Atkinson provided support to the crew of the ferry.
In ports around Great Britain, and around the world, the port chaplains of the AoS visit ferry crews, to support the crew when needed and to be a friendly face and listening ear, providing practical and spiritual support for each and every crew member. Being a member of crew on a ferry can be stressful at the best of times.
Factors such as prolonged separation from family and the proximity of so many people living and working together can increase stress on crew. Outlets and opportunities to talk and be heard for crew are important for their wellbeing so that they can continue to work and live in a happy environment.
The impact of AoS port chaplains is crucial at times of particular stress such as this incident. They offer emotional support to crew and at Christmas will arrange for religious services for Catholic seafarers from countries such as the Philippines.