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Stella Maris global support through Covid19

25th March 2020

Here’s a look at how our some of our Stella Maris colleagues globally are supporting seafarers in spite of the restrictions placed on ship visiting and the fast-moving situation of the Covid-19 virus.

In Cape Town, South Africa National Director Nicholas Barends reports that four fishermen who were crew members of a detained fishing vessel flew home on March 20. The men were so excited about going home, says Nicholas. The vessel had berthed in Cape Town since November 30 last year. The crew had very little food and drinking water on board as the ship had run out of supplies and fuel. One of the men was also a diabetic and had run out of medication. Nicholas and his team supported them throughout. To see the back story go here.

In Manila, Stella Maris Port Chaplain and  Philippines National Director Fr Paulo Prigol says that there are many seafarers housed in the Seafarers Centre. Manila is in lockdown at the moment and the seafarers are being quarantined there. Fr Paulo and his team are keeping them safe and well. They have daily prayer and Mass and ensure the Centre is regularly sanitised and cleaned.


On 20 March Fr Yance Guntur Stella Maris port chaplain in Kaohsiung and his team distributed hand sanitisers and masks to a group of fishermen as they had none on board. Fishers have been barred from leaving their vessels because of the coronavirus situation. Fr Yance is waiting to hear when ship visits will be discontinued. However he will carry on supporting and encouraging them via phone and social media.

Fr Celestin Ikomba, Stella Maris Abidjan Port Chaplain in Ivory Coast and West Africa regional coordinator celebrated his last public Mass at the port on March 19 which is normally attended by fishers, seafarers and port workers. But Fr Celestin and his team continue to remain available to support them via other means. He has also started streaming of Mass on Facebook. Their facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/stellamaris.apostolatusmaris

In Odessa, Ukraine port chaplain Fr Alexander and ship visitor Rostik inform us that there is no shore leave for seafarers in Odessa port but ship visits continue (information correct as of March 23) so they held Mass on board this ship as requested by the crew using all necessary protection tools of course.