On 25 June all over the world seafarers celebrate International Day of the Seafarer.
Centacare’s Apostleship of the Sea ministry provides support to seafarers at the Port of Brisbane and through the Stella Maris Centre in Wynnum. Pastoral carer, Barry Guest, who visits seafarers daily on board their ships says ‘loneliness and isolation are a real struggle for many seafarers who spend months at a time away from home.’ ‘As part of the worldwide Apostleship of the Sea ministry, we provide a listening ear and new face to talk to.’
Crew members Ranquillo Jesusa and Zagorodhi Eduard shared their experiences as seafarers during a recent visit aboard their ship. They reflected on the loneliness they can experience and the challenge of spending such extended periods of time at sea without putting their feet on dry land. As the only female crew member aboard the ship Ranquillo, reflected this loneliness can sometimes be quite acute and she looks forward to opportunities to meet and speak with other women when at port. Throughout 2019 the maritime world is placing a strong emphasis on the importance and value of women within the professional ranks which is reflected in the theme for Day of the Seafarer this year, ‘I am on board with Gender Equality’.
Each time Barry boards a ship the crew are all waiting to buy their all important SIM cards. Barry explains, ‘buying a SIM card is very important to them as it will enable them to contact home more frequently during their next long stint at Sea. ‘This is especially important for the crew who who cannot get shore leave as it is the only opportunity they will get to contact home.’
The Apostleship of the Sea ministry also operates a bus mid-week to transport seafarers with shore leave form the port to either the Stella Maris centre. At the centre seafarers can enjoy each other’s company and relax on dry land, visit the near by shops and restaurants in Wynnum or get the train into Brisbane CBD.