Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has provided moral and practical support to a group of Ukrainian crew following their colleague’s death.
Last Thursday, a 29 year-old crew member from the bulk carrier Brasschaat fell to his death while working on board his ship, which has been lying at anchor off Tyne port since June after the ship owner filed for bankruptcy.
AoS Tyne port chaplain Paul Atkinson visited the ship on October 22, with St Mary’s Cathedral Newcastle assistant priest Fr Shaun Purdy, to offer support to the crew.
“The crew spoke very little English and didn’t really speak about the death of their colleague. It appeared to be just another day for them,” Paul said.
“However they were grateful for the visit and some of them requested help with buying top-up phone cards and train tickets into town, which AoS provided,” he said, adding that the crew were contented, and were being paid and had sufficient food and provisions.
Fr Shaun at Tyne port with the ship Brasschaat in the background
Paul has supported the crew on previous occasions when the Brasschaat came into port, by providing woolly hats and even a boiler suit for one of the crew.
The ship is very much in the public eye and a lot of people in the local community have been asking Paul about the crew and expressed concern for them.
Paul is also often in touch with the Tyne port pilots to keep an eye on the seafarers.
The Brasschaat is one of three ships anchored off Tyneside belonging to the same owner, the other two being the Vyritsa and Zarechensk.
Fr Edward Pracz of AoS Poland also previously supported the crew of the ships when they were in Gdynia in April.