The psychological stress of life at sea can be so great that some cannot come to grips with it & Apostleship of the Sea tries to help.
The tragic case of a crewmember who jumped overboard illustrates the problem:
Fr. Yu Chung, a Filipino Chinese living in Singapore was contacted by the shipping company’s foreign owner to go on board to see if there was anything he could do to help.
He explains: “The Filipino crew over there were traumatised by the event. They saw this second officer jumping overboard…he committed suicide – his body was never found. They tried actually to look for him for about three hours in the Indian Ocean but he was not found. So the shipping agency in Norway contacted me and I went on board, so I celebrated mass for them…and did some counselling to the crew and after the mass, the celebration of the Eucharist, we prayed for the repose of this fellow and the crew were better; they felt better…the sense of guilt was gone.”
One of hundreds of international delegates to a Vatican congress examining how they can apply the New Evangelisation to their ministry, Fr. Yu Chung says:
“We start from the basics again. When we celebrate mass on board and we try to reflect on the Word of God and (on) how the Word of God can be the source of their strength while they’re on board because they have little opportunities to celebrate the Eucharist. So when the chaplain goes on board, it’s a time that they are able to connect with the Word of God and that is a source of strength for them.”