Apostleship of the Sea, Stella Maris, began the year by answering a desperate call for help from the crew of a cargo ship, enabling them to carry on their journey to the Baltic States.
The crew on arrival in the Port of Grangemouth and were greeted by Deacon Joe O’Donnell, AoS’ Senior Regional Port Chaplain for Scotland.
A mixed crew of Filipino, Sri Lankan and Ukrainian seafarers, the first thing they requested on arriving in Scotland was some much-needed warm clothes while preparing for the next leg of their mammoth journey to the Baltics.
On hearing their appeal, Joe quickly set about supplying the crew with their winter essentials in the form of jackets and hats which were received with heartfelt thanks.
A young Filipino member of the crew who hasn’t seen his family for four months and doesn’t anticipate returning home until July, expressed his gratitude for the charity’s swift assistance in coming to the aid of those desperately in need.
He said, “We are so grateful to Apostleship of the Sea. We really did need some new clothes. It can be such a huge culture shock coming from a warmer climate like we do and then into much colder weather, especially when you’re not prepared for it and don’t have the right sort of clothing.
“We know the temperature will take a turn for the worse when we go to the Baltic States, so this is like a belated Christmas present for all of us on board the ship. Thanks to the Joe’s help, we are able to set sail knowing we are far-better kitted out for what lies ahead.
“It’s hard enough being away from our families for such a long time without having to endure extra hardship. Now we know that we are kitted out to survive and we will never forget our visit to Scotland and the generosity of this wonderful charity.”
Port Chaplain Joe, who is a regular visitor to Grangemouth where he greets seafarers from all over the world, told how he instantly knew the foreign crew were needing immediate assistance.
Joe said, “It struck me that some of their clothes were badly in need of replacing. That was obvious straight away because there were holes in their jumpers, for example. It was a case of just doing the right thing and helping out as best we can under the circumstances.
“It’s quite something to think that, in this day and age, some people so far away from home are working extremely hard for their families, still don’t always have the essentials to help them deal with the elements. It’s a pleasure to assist and we wish the crew a safe journey on their way to the Baltics.”
Meanwhile, AoS are busy within the parishes and are preparing to do a Sea Sunday appeal in St Ninian’s, Knightswood in Glasgow on the weekend of 26/27 January.