Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) provided pastoral support for the crew of a bunkering ship in Falmouth who were distressed after their colleague died of a heart attack.
AoS Falmouth port chaplain John Pinhay arranged for a priest to go on board the vessel and pray with the crew who were left anxious and in shock following the incident.
Earlier this month John received a phone call informing him that there had been a death on board the ship. A crew member had fallen ill while the ship was taking on fuel supplies. He was transferred to Treliske Hospital in Truro but died soon after, having suffered a massive heart attack.
“The captain had contacted the agent requesting a Catholic priest to visit the ship, as the crew were all Polish Catholics. I then contacted our local priest Fr Jon Bielawski who readily agreed to visit the ship and crew,” said John.
Fr Jon and John were met by very disorientated faces when they arrived on board the ship. The crew were under pressure to continue to load fuel for the next vessel coming into the bay for refuelling.
John said, “The captain at first was unsure what to do as the crew were busy. We spoke with him in his cabin and Fr Jon said he would say prayers with just the captain and he was to let the rest of the crew know that this was done.”
“However, the captain kept disappearing from his cabin and eventually managed to gather all the crew together except for one. Fr Jon led us in prayer and shared gospel readings and then he invited the crew to recite the Lord’s Prayer in their own language,” he said.
It was a very sad occasion, but AoS was able to show that it shared and understood the seafarers’ grief and shock. The crew explained that one minute they were working alongside their crew mate and next moment he was gone.