As we negotiate our way through the second year of Covid, I wonder how many might have planned a holiday cruise to some exotic part of the world? For those who did, the chances are it never happened or ultimately was so hedged with restrictions that either you or the Company cancelled. Very frustrating for holiday makers, but it requires very little imagination to realise the huge effect that the Pandemic has had on the millions of Seafarers who earn their living at sea, transporting the 90% of the things we could not live without – eg. food, medicines, raw materials, clothes, household goods etc – to over 200 Ports in 50 Countries around the World, most also in some form of lockdown.

The familiar problems of long period of separation from their families, the inherent danger of life at sea, piracy, shipwreck, abandonment in foreign ports, serious injury or bereavement are constant worries which have all been exacerbated in 2020/21. Added to this, many Seafarers were marooned in the Suez Canal for weeks as a result of the accidental blockage which occurred. According to the “International Maritime Organisation”, 76 new cases of abandonment were recorded in 2020 involving 1,000 Seafarers. Just 17 have been resolved.

The Mission to Seafarers is one of a number of causes which Christ Church is pleased to support. It is an international Christian organisation entirely funded by voluntary donations, and one which provides vital welfare services, 365 days per year, to those who risk their lives at sea all over the world – for sick, lonely, exhausted and troubled crews of all ranks. nationalities and beliefs.

SEA SUNDAY this year is on 11th July. We do hope you will feel able to support the Seafarers who provide such an essential service to the World.

Jim Molloy (Christ Church Mission to Seafarers rep’)