Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has paid tribute to its women port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers ahead of International Women’s Day 2014.
AoS says women have and will continue to play a significant role within the organisation. It currently has women port chaplains in East Anglia, Plymouth and Hull, as well as many women ship visiting volunteers up and down the country.
Their energy and fantastic work in helping meet seafarers’ practical and spiritual needs are an inspiration to many.
AoS National Director Martin Foley said; “On this International Women’s Day we give thanks for the work of our female lay chaplains and ship visitors. We also give credit to female seafarers for their important work.”
One ship visitor is Ruth Watt, who quietly goes about her ministry in Fraserburgh and Peterhead ports in Scotland.
Ruth also gives presentations and recently spoke to a group of ladies from the Friendship Club about AoS’ work in the northeast corner of Scotland.
The ladies were enthralled to hear about the work Ruth and other AoS volunteers do for seafarers. They made a donation which Ruth has used to provide top up phone cards for seafarers who visit Peterhead port.
The local shops are a few miles from the port with limited transport so Ruth carries much needed means of communication required by visiting seafarers.
Another ship visitor Bryony Watson began ship visiting in December 2012 and visits ships in Immingham, Grimsby and on the Trent. She has lived close to the coast all her life and is currently studying for a degree in fine art.
“I get such a warm feeling when leaving a ship and hearing the words, ‘Thank you for your visit.’ And I know that however small my input seemed to me, it was greatly appreciated. This work brings as many rewards to me as it does to the seafarer, and I find that a humbling experience,” she says.
AoS port chaplains and ship visitors provide seafarers with a range of help, including SIM cards, religious literature, and transport to local shops and churches. They also visit seafarers in hospital and liaise with their families back home.
As well as this, they assist and support seafarers in matters relating to welfare, piracy and employment.