The Mission to Seafarers (MtS)

Multiple Tragedies At Sea Dominates The Start To 2015 Reports The Mission To Seafarers

The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) global maritime welfare charity has reported a very turbulent start to 2015, with multiple incidents at sea dominating their work.

There have been two serious accidents in the UK, in Southampton Water and off Orkney; the latter being the catastrophic loss of the MV Cemfjord claiming 8 lives. In addition MtS has been called on to support a number of fishermen who arrived in Hartlepool with serious needs. There have also been fatalities in the Mediterranean: aboard the Norman Atlantic ferry, which caught fire near Italy, and on one of its rescue tugs. In addition there have been the incidents involving migrant ‘ghost ships’ ; and finally the MV Bulk Jupiter sank in the Far East off the coast of Vietnam with 19 seafarers missing, feared dead.

Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers said: “Throughout this Christmas and New Year period Mission teams have been reminded very starkly of all the dangers faced by seafarers and of a number of other issues surrounding them. Most recently we have witnessed the grounding of the Hoegh Osaka in the Solent followed by the subsequent rescue of the crew. MtS Chaplain John Attenborough was heavily involved as the lead chaplain in responding to this incident and was in action all through the night and most of the next day caring for the crew who were evacuated to the Seafarers’ Centre in Southampton.


Recent tragedies at sea

In Hartlepool MtS Chaplain Chris Collison, together with colleagues from The Fishermen’s Mission and Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), were very active throughout the Christmas and New Year periods responding to a number of fishermen who faced very significant and urgent need in terms of practicalities, like clothing, and a number of welfare issues.

In Scotland MtS Chaplain Tim Tunley has been on stand-by to deal with any aftermath from the tragic loss of the MV Cemfjord cargo ship and 7 Polish and 1 Filipino crew. In the event, with no survivors, there was sadly little that we could do locally. However, we are exploring the possibility of additional support that can be given to families, with colleagues from AoS in Poland. The ship was sailing under a Cypriot flag, and MtS Cyprus Chaplain Ken Wiseman will be seeking a meeting with the Department of Merchant Shipping there to raise the matter.

In addition there has been the frightening fire aboard the ferry Norman Atlantic off Italy and the subsequent deaths of two Albanian seafarers on a towing tug. Many thanks go to all Mission teams who have been involved in so many ways over these last two weeks. We will continue to support seafarers and their families who have been affected by these and other incidents around the world.”