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01/10/2021 09:29 AM

Lending a helping hand to seafarers

When it comes to supporting seafarers who have been placed with some extraordinary demands due to the COVID pandemic, the Port Authority of NSW is generous in its support of the work done by Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) Catholic outreach to seafarers and fishers.

Port Authority have a reputation of compassion when it comes to lending a helping hand to deliver care packages and free Wi-Fi technology to seafarers to make their stay in our ports a lot easier.

Stella Maris Catholic chaplaincy for seafarers: Regional Co-Ordinator Sr Mary Leahy said she is always appreciative of the Authority staff who go above and beyond to give of their time and money to providing care packages for seafarers.

“I have always simply visited crews onboard to respond in some way to the needs they may have. Mostly it is a listening ear of friendship. But regularly too I engage in the role of advocacy in terms of their human rights etc. they tend often to be exploited within the complex shipping world and are often voiceless. They are always lonely for family too,” Sr Mary said.

“I never cease being grateful for the care and kindness that exists within the Port Authority of NSW. This care and kindness is evident when a staff go beyond the call of duty to reach out to the crew. And the crew are always most appreciative of our visits and above all the practical care shown by our many boot loads of gifts.”

Sr Mary has helped seafarers for more than 30 years and is known all over the world for the care and compassion she shows them.

“The mental health is huge for seafarers, with many contemplating suicide. They are just like machines in the engine room, they are just plugging away, and that can tend to become the focus and often humanity is lost. What we are trying to do now is regain humanity here, and humanise the ports again,’ Sr Mary said.

“As Oscar Wilde said: `the cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’ That is what happens sometimes with seafarers, they put a price on themselves. We must not reduce humanity for them.”