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Minister praises Catholic seafarers' charity

 Modern shipping methods mean that many ships' crews can go for up to a year without seeing their families. When their ships do dock somewhere, they often only have a few hours on land before continuing their journeys. Dr Stephen Ladyman MP, The Minister of State for Transport, praised the "vital" work of the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) in providing practical and pastoral support for seafarers around the world. Dr Ladyman was speaking on a visit to the AOS chaplaincy team in Sheerness Docks, part of the Port of Medway, on Wednesday. Together with AOS Chaplain, Deacon Daniel Mulcahy, he went on board the Ice Ranger, a Cayman Islands-registered refrigerated cargo ship which was importing fruit from South Africa. The Polish captain took him on a tour of the ship and he met members of the crew from various Eastern European countries. The Minister also visited the communications room opened recently by AOS. Based inside a spare port building it has three telephone booths for seafarers to use to call loved ones back home during their short time ashore. Later he met Commodore Chris York, AOS National Director, who briefed him on the work of AOS and the importance of recognising the rights and vulnerability of seafarers. Dr Ladyman said: "The difficulties mariners face as they work away from home for long periods are often overlooked, and so I congratulate AOS and their teams of volunteers for filling this gap by being there in port to welcome seafarers." Source: AOS