OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Coronavirus: support for crews at risk of contagion from the Apostleship of the Sea

Tuesday, 5 May 2020 coronavirus   evangelization   pastoral   solidarity  

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - "Chaplains and other pastoral workers on the Australian coast are doing everything possible to support those who work in the seas in this crisis phase linked to the spread of coronavirus. The current situation leads us to have to redesign a part of our ministry, given the isolation and quarantine limits: often, the personnel of ships cannot land due to suspected cases of Covid-19 on board. However, maritime workers carry out a fundamental activity for the health and well-being of our nation, given that 90% of Australian trade is based on shipping", says Roslyn Rajasingam, National Director of the Apostolate of the Sea in Australia.
In recent weeks the coordination of the Australian Church for maritime workers has worked to offer support to the crew on board the cruise ship "Ruby Princess", blocked until April 23 in front of the coast of Sydney. On March 19, 2700 people disembarked from the ship, although some had symptoms related to Covid-19 and were still waiting for the results of the swabs. For this reason, it is believed that the largest coronavirus outbreak in Australia was generated from there: "Everything was said about this ship and the workers on board, but this did not prevent the Catholic Church from offering aid and pastoral assistance to the crew", we learn from the note.
Furthermore, it is reported that the Promoting Bishop of the Ministry of the Apostleship of the Sea, Mgr. Bosco Puthur, wrote to the government of New South Wales, asking state authorities to ensure the well-being of the crew: "Bishop Puthur offered the support of the Australian Apostolate of the Sea network through our 'Stella Maris' coastal centers to integrate the work of the government and health authorities".
In addition to these initiatives, a video message was also sent to the crew of the Ruby Princess, at Easter, by Sr. Mary Leahy, belonging to the Religious Sisters of St. Joseph and chaplain of the seamen of Sydney Ports. As the note reports, the captain of the port of Port Kembla, where the Ruby Princess was moored during Easter, announced that the nun's message "was the best thing the crew on board received in terms of hope and spirituality", during the entire emergency period. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 5/5/2020)