Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has launched its global port chaplains' directory which helps seafarers and fishermen get access to pastoral and welfare support wherever they are in the world.
The Port Chaplain Directory 2018 lists phone numbers and e-mail addresses of 216 port chaplains covering 314 ports in 57 countries, compared to 261 ports across 55 countries in 2017.
"The increase in numbers worldwide demonstrates that the provision of pastoral care for seafarers and fishermen remains as vital as ever. Providing up to date and accurate details of all our chaplains is a valuable resource for seafarers and for the Church to respond effectively to those whose livelihoods depend on the sea," said AoS National Director Martin Foley.
He said, "Our chaplains worldwide are seeing more requests for Mass to be celebrated on board, and many seafarers appreciate being able to practice their faith."
Martin added, "Just as importantly, we are being asked more and more to visit seafarers in hospital to provide companionship and support before they are well enough to return home. Recently, one of our chaplains supported a Catholic seafarer from Croatia who was badly burnt. While recovering in hospital, it became clear his body was rejecting hospital food, so our chaplain arranged for his wife to use the cooking facilities at a nearby church so he could get home-cooked food," said Martin.
AoS Development Director John Green said the presence of AoS port chaplains globally enabled the charity to provide sustained support to seafarers and fishers across continents and for as long as was necessary.
"In one case, we supported a crew member in a US port, while also standing ready to support the needs of his family in South East Asia," he said.
He added, "This provision of care, and in particular its human element, does so much to lift the spirits of seafarers."
AoS is the largest provider of port-based pastoral and spiritual care for seafarers in the world with around 650 chaplains, ship visitor volunteers and staff globally who visited an estimated 70,000 ships worldwide last year.
See the AoS world map showing the locations of all the port chaplains: www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk/world-map
The AoS' Port Chaplain Directory 2018 can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/AoSDirectory18
Port authorities or shipping companies wanting copies for their crews should get in contact with the charity.