14/01/2012 4:45 pm
Issued by Apostleship of the Sea
Catholic Seafarers' agency Apostleship of the Sea has spoken of how its chaplain helped passengers on board the Costa Concordia, which sank off the Italian coast on Friday night.
The cruise ship was carrying thousands of passengers and hundreds of crew. Three people are confirmed dead with dozens still missing.
The chaplain onboard assisted shocked crew and passengers, including those injured.
National Director of the Apostleship of the Sea in Italy Fr Giacomo Martino said, "The work of cruise chaplains onboard is of great value to encourage and support crew and passengers at difficult moments." He praised the crew of the ship. "The crew worked to save passengers with great generosity and a spirit of selflessness."
Thousands of passengers arrived at the Savona cruise terminal where the local Apostleship of the Sea joined other agencies to distribute clothing and food. It is also providing spiritual and emotional support.
The priest and parishioners on the island of Giglio, where the ship sank, worked during the night to assist those leaving the ship.
Fr Giacomo called for prayers to be offered for those who have died and those missing.
Each year the Apostleship of the Sea deploys chaplains on many cruise lines to support the pastoral and practical welfare of crew and passengers.
Last year more than 700 cruise chaplains provided 15,000 days of cruise chaplaincy across the world.
The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations, grants and legacies to continue its work.
90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100,000 ships visit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.
AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores - regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.