Newport ship visitors hear tales of piracy on the high seas

Container ship at Tilbury

Container ship at Tilbury

John Merenghi and Peter Roberts are Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) volunteer ship visitors in Newport. Their daily routine consists of visiting seafarers onboard ships to offer them any practical or pastoral support they require. One recent ship visit demonstrated how our volunteer ship visitors are there to give emotional support to seafarers.

Recently in Newport docks John & Peter boarded the Lady Remington III, crewed by Ukrainian seafarers. Conversations with the Chief Officer revealed that whilst sailing the Gulf of Aden they had been forcefully boarded by armed Somali Pirates. They called for assistance but no one was near enough to come to their aid and so the crew locked themselves in the engine room for two days without food or water. During this time they heard several gunshots and what sounded like fighting. When it had been quiet for a long time the crew emerged to find the pirates had left, though they had created significant damage to the ship and the bridge. They were now in dock in Newport for repairs before being able to continue the journey to America.

Piracy is an ever increasing threat to seafarers and its impact on the physical, mental and spiritual health of seafarers is enormous. The story told by these Ukraine seafarers is just one of the tales our chaplains and ship visitors hear, and some do not have such a lucky ending. This crew were all left unharmed; often that is not the case.

AoS chaplains and ship visitors are there to lend a sympathetic listening ear and friendship to all seafarers. Often they have had hard experiences that they need to talk about; they feel scared, lonely and isolated. Seafaring is becoming and increasingly dangerous profession and we need to continue to be there to support seafarers.

To find out more about the work of Apostleship of the Sea then visit their website at  

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