Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) has reiterated its commitment to support local fishing communities and to boost its presence in Jersey.
Stella Maris Vice Chair Captain Esteban Pacha, led a delegation to the Island on May 1, with AoS Southern Ports Regional Chaplain Fr John Lavers, to further enhance AoS work on Jersey that started a decade ago.
Together with the local team of AoS ship visitors and volunteers, Capt. Pacha met the Jersey Fishermen’s Association to firm-up ties with the fishing sector and to explore ways of closer collaboration with local fishermen who operate a fleet of around 165 fishing boats.
This was followed by a presentation on Stella Maris’ activities to more than 500 students and staff of Beaulieu Convent School in St. Helier and headmaster Chris Beirne.
Capt. Pacha highlighted the vital work that seafarers and fishermen do, providing goods and food globally; particularly on islands that are fully dependent on shipping and maritime transportation.
Passenger and freight ferry operator Condor Ferries also invited the Stella Maris delegation to visit its flagship vessel “Commodore Clipper” together with BBC Jersey reporter Cathy Le Feuvre.
Capt. Pacha met Jersey Port Manager Martyn Brydon and was welcomed on board by Capt. Roger Thompson and his crew.
Capt. Pacha, on behalf of Stella Maris, expressed his gratitude to Condor Ferries for its many years serving the ports of Poole and Jersey providing vital maritime connectivity.
He also thanked Condor Ferries for facilitating regular ship visits by Stella Maris’ port chaplains and ship visitors, recognising the company’s commitment to promote the wellbeing of its crews on board.
AoS Southern Ports Regional Chaplain Fr John Lavers and Jersey ship visitors Terry Brown and Peter Bewers spoke with the mixed British-Ukrainian crew members of “Commodore Clipper” who were delighted to receive the latest edition of Stella Maris’ magazine for seafarers written in both English and Ukrainian.
Capt. Pacha highlighted the fact that a third of the crew are women; an apt acknowledgment of the vital role of women in shipping and the International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Day theme for 2019 “Women in Maritime”.
During an interview by BBC Jersey, Capt. Pacha and Fr John reiterated the commitment of Stella Maris to support ship visiting and volunteer recruitment in Jersey and to further engage with Jersey’s harbours, shipping operators and fishing communities.
They also thanked the Church in Jersey for the support provided to Stella Maris’ local team. Monsignor Nicholas France, Parish Priest and former Catholic Dean in Jersey and one-time AoS Trustee put out an appeal in 2007 for someone to set up the charity in Jersey.
With Jersey being an island and relying on shipping Monsignor France thought AoS should have a presence in Jersey.
The Knights of St. Columba, Council 216, Jersey, took on this task and in 2008 a branch of AoS was set up in Jersey with the kind assistance of the Ports of Jersey.
Five members of the Knights of St Columba became volunteer ship visitors, a couple of years later one lady joined its ranks.
The ships that visit Jersey include small coasters, gas and oil tankers and ferries on route to and from Poole and Portsmouth and St. Malo, the crews of which are all visited by our AoS volunteers.
The crews are provided with practical items such as woolly hats, toiletries, biscuits and confectionery as well as pastoral support.
Every year for the past six or seven years AoS Jersey together with the Knights of St Columba, on May Bank Holiday, has a fundraising function, a Sponsored ‘Walking on Water to France’, walking around St. Catherines’ Breakwater 18 times, the distance of 23 km to the coast of France.