Just one example of great teamwork by Ann Donnelly and John Pinhay, Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplains in South West England.
A badly-injured Burmese seafarer had to be airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth in early January. The 40-year-old bosun was working on board the chemical tanker Oriental Nadeshiko when it ran into stormy weather.
The seafarer sustained a badly-lacerated scalp and fractured a rib, and was flown to hospital from his ship 35 miles off the coast of Falmouth.
Our Plymouth port chaplain Ann Donnelly and a volunteer visited him in hospital and provided him a phone top-up card and some toiletries.
Ann says, “He was glad to speak to his family and let them know he was recovering. Fortunately, there was a doctor in the hospital who could speak Burmese so the seafarer was able to understand about the treatment required. He was very grateful for our visit."
After a few days in hospital he was discharged to a hotel in Falmouth where he stayed until he was well enough to fly back home. At the hotel, our Falmouth port chaplain John Pinhay offered him support and friendship while he recuperated.
John says, “Initially he was very anxious finding himself in a strange country in a lot of pain and discomfort. Over the next two weeks I would visit him and sometimes Pat my wife would come with me. We gave him a lift down to the local drop-in cabin within the docks and through our many visits we formed a close bond.”
John adds, “When I first met him, his English was very limited, but over a couple of weeks his English improved greatly. He is Buddhist and I explained that AoS is a Catholic charity there to offer support to anyone in need, regardless of race or religion.”
In late January the seafarer was well enough to return home where he was reunited with his family.
“Incidents like this remind us about the dangers that seafarers sometimes face just doing their jobs, and how lonely and vulnerable they must feel when they fall ill or are injured hundreds of miles from home,” said John.
Ann added, “Hopefully our support in such situations brings them some reassurance and they know there are people here who care, whatever their faith or beliefs.”