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'It was like losing a brother'

Sailors’ Society chaplains are used to providing comfort in times of despair …

Sailors’ Society chaplains are used to providing comfort in times of despair …

Chaplains from international maritime charity, Sailors’ Society, have been supporting the grieving crewmates of a Filipino seafarer who died whilst working on a quay in Scotland.

Coping with the death of a colleague is difficult at the best of times, but when you lose someone you have spent months in close quarters with, the loss is arguably even harder to accept.

Most people do not consider injury or death on their daily commute to work, but for seafarers, the dangerous nature of their work at times means it can be a genuine concern.

But while seafaring can be dangerous, there are people supporting and caring for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers, and their families, in times of despair.

In Scotland, Sailors’ Society’s auxiliary port chaplain, Drew Anderson, and ship visitor Murdo MacLeod, have been on hand to administer spiritual and emotional support to the Filipino seafarer’s friends and held a service on board for them.

“When I went on board there were a lot of visibly upset people. Working together at sea for many months, the seafarers are close and to them it was like losing a brother,” Drew said.

Sailors’ Society has chaplains and ship visitors in 87 global ports across 26 countries and working closely together to support those in need is crucial to its mission.

Drew contacted his fellow Sailors’ Society chaplain Nic Tuban in the Philippines, who was able to comfort the seafarer’s widow and children in Manila.

Nic said: “His wife is devastated; she didn’t expect him to die so young. His job as a seafarer was the family’s main source of income and his wife said that he had recently spoken about retiring.”

Nic comforted the family and prayed with them; he was also able to give financial assistance in the form of a Sailors’ Society welfare grant.    

MERCHANT NAVY DAY

Merchant Navy Day on September 3 celebrates the bravery of the many men and women who have given their lives to seafaring.

A remembrance service will be held on September 4 in London, and Sailors’ Society will create its annual ‘Sea of Remembrance’ to thank seafarers for the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, transporting 90 per cent of the world’s trade.

For information on how to get involved with Sailors’ Society’s work please visit www.sailors-society.org

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