As the plight of the stricken Malaviya Seven nears a long-awaited end, the crew’s mood was further lifted as they joined in the celebration of the annual Stella Maris Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen.
Led by Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Bishop Promoter for Scotland, Stephen Robson, the Indian seafarers were joined by a healthy turnout of clergy, local parishioners, supporters and volunteer ship visitors who heard Clay the bosun do the first reading on behalf of seafarers.
Bishop Robson, who made a specially-organised visit to the ship earlier in the day when he took time to speak with crew members, praised the local community under the direction of AoS’ Northeast Scotland port chaplain Doug Duncan for their sterling support, in his thought-provoking homily on the night.
Bishop Robson said, "The crew of the Malaviya Seven have suffered far more than they should have through no fault of their own. The local community of Aberdeen have been so generous and caring in coming to the aid of these seafarers all the way from India as much as they possibly can.
"A life at sea can be fraught with danger. That’s why we rely so much on the care and protection of Our Lady Star of the Sea because the waters can be stormy indeed.
"It has been especially tough for Doug Duncan who has welcomed these guys as part of his family and helped them on a daily basis for the past 15 months."
Another crew member, Ashish Prabhakar, said, "This has been the most beautiful celebration. It’s given us another chance to pray for our families back home and hopefully we can see them all soon."
He added, “We thank AoS for all they have done for us. The have given us tremendous support throughout all of this.”
Afterwards, light refreshments were served in the hall where those in attendance had the chance to enjoy each other’s company.
Dates and times of remaining Stella Maris Masses this year can be found at http://www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk/stella-maris-masses-2017