Catholic Port Chaplains and ship visitors from the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) were received by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor at a meeting in Archbishop's House, Westminster yesterday. The Cardinal, who is the Patron of AOS, met the men and women who provide practical and pastoral assistance to a 100,000 international seafarers who visit Britain's ports each year. Commodore Chris York, National Director of AOS, presented the Cardinal with a copy of the 2006 Seafarers' Calendar, featuring Coptic icons which will provide a spiritual focus onboard many merchant ships which ply the world's maritime trade routes. Ninety-five percent of world trade is carried by ship. But crews are often poorly paid and sometimes have to work in gruelling and dangerous conditions. With trips lasting from nine to 12 months at a time, and shore leave frequently just a few hours - seafarers can suffer loneliness and depression. The AOS is there in every port to meet ships and offer practical assistance and pastoral care.
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