Liverpool Seafarers Centre has welcomed a message from Pope Francis to seafarers, reassuring them they are not alone or forgotten during the pandemic.
The Pope said he recognised the difficulties facing those working aboard ships but also the important role they play in “providing our greater human family with food and other primary needs”.
In a video message sent to Catholic charity the Apostleship of the Sea, he said: “Long periods spent aboard ships without being able to disembark, separation from families, friends and native countries, and fear of infection are a heavy burden to bear. Know that you are not alone and that you are not forgotten. Your work at sea often keeps you apart from others, but you are close to me in my thoughts and prayers.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre has been campaigning for seafarers stranded aboard vessels during the pandemic, many of which are unable to get home despite their contracts having ended, due to travel restrictions. John Wilson, chief executive of the Crosby charity, has been collecting and distributing donations including toiletries, confectionery, food and games, to seafarers and previously said he fears for the mental health of those separated from their families.
The centre is a partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers.
Mr Wilson said: “The Pope’s message will come as a welcome boost to the many thousands of seafarers currently aboard vessels, many of which are working long hours with no shore leave due to the current quarantine restrictions. Some have been separated from their families for long periods, unable to travel home when their contracts ended, while others are stuck at home with no way of working and earning money.
“We remember all of those affected by the pandemic who make a living from the sea and I am pleased that the Pope has spoken to state his support for all that they do. I know it will provide comfort to many during this difficult time and offer hope that they are not alone.”