When John Pinhay, Falmouth Port Chaplain for Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) visited the ship Heba M in January, he was greeted by a very sorry sight.
Heavy seas had dislodged the ship’s cargo of timber, and the deck was in disarray.
John met the crew and they told him about the frightening time they experienced; when in high seas the ship suddenly became unbalanced.
Fortunately, the vessel was passing near to Falmouth, so the port became a safe refuge, both for the ship and the crew of nine Syrians, an Indian and a Turkish national.
The Heba M remained in Falmouth for three weeks while work was carried out to get things back in order.
During this time, the crew had to remain on board the ship and were not allowed outside the port area due to immigration restrictions, so John and Apostleship of the Sea ship visitor Simon Bromage visited the men, spending several hours with them over the period.
“During our visits the men spoke about their work, lives and families in Syria. They expressed sadness and anxiety about the war in their homeland,” John said.
“We could imagine the loneliness and frustration the crew were experiencing,” he added.
John and Simon also brought the seafarers woolly hats, maritime papers and chocolates, all of which were gratefully received.
“When we turned up and sat with them sharing stories we knew they appreciated our visits,” John said.
For the crew of the Heba M, Falmouth Port turned out to be a safe refuge in more ways than one.