Fr Jos Vanhoof, Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) port chaplain in Antwerp, Belgium has supported the crew of a containership that ran aground in the River Scheldt.
He went on board the CSCL Jupiter, a 366-metre ship, to support the crew following the incident on August 15.
“Naturally, the seafarers – from Ukraine and China – were shaken by the incident. I went on board and met with some of the crew. They were fine albeit a little unsettled because of the uncertainty brought about by the situation.
“They told me they would not get the opportunity to go ashore while investigations were ongoing. I left them my contact details in case they needed to get in touch,” said Fr Jos.
The ship was eventually refloated later that day and moved to a berth in Antwerp port, and the men had remained on board since.
Some local press reports say the grounded vessel had become a mini ‘tourist attraction’ with onlookers climbing onto the sand bank the bow of the ship was stuck on.
Fr Jos said, “It was sad that nobody seemed concerned about the welfare needs of the 26 crew members. Everyone was preoccupied with who would pay for the refloating operation and other things.”
“Incidents such as this one highlight some of the difficulties seafarers face just doing their jobs and how seafarers’ welfare organisation such as AoS can play a vital role supporting crew in such circumstances,” he said.