Of the 1.2 million seafarers at sea, every year over 15,000 seafarers are injured and 500 die, five times the European average for mortalities. These figures were presented at a 'Healthcare at Sea' conference attended by many involved in the maritime world, including the Apostleship of the Sea, the Church's outreach to seafarers. The conference called for better training for seafarers, demonstrating that those who have safe working and living conditions suffer fewer injuries, accidents and illnesses at sea. John Green AOS Director of Development present at the conference, added 'AOS's Port Chaplains contribute in no small way in caring for seafarers, not only for their material and physical needs but also for their spiritual well being, an area often overlooked when 'well-being' is talked about'. One shocking example of discrimination highlighted at the conference was the practice by some recruitment agencies in the Philippines, of testing female seafarers urine, to check for pregnancy, discriminating against those found to be carrying a child. Commodore Chris York, AOS National Director said 'I am pleased that the Church's concern for the rights of all seafarers has been voiced in the heart of the industry, we are working to put into practice the Pope's call on World Maritime Day this year to work so that all seafarers can live and work with dignity in a safe environment, where all their needs, physical, material and spiritual are catered for. The highlighting of injustices in the maritime world is a crucial part of our ministry of evangelisation'
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