Fishermen homebound after ordeal

Deacon Joe O’Donnell, Senior Regional Port Chaplain for Stella Maris in Scotland waved goodbye to a crew of five fisherman who took a step closer to returning to their loved ones by flying home earlier on March 16.

The men had spent the past eight months in Scotland which included a court case against their skipper who in January was found guilty and fined at Peterhead Sheriff’ Court of assault and racially-aggravated harassment of the men over a period of six years.

The Filipinos departed Glasgow Airport expressing their sincere thanks for the support of our charity throughout their ordeal. They will be reunited with their families soon however will have to spend one month in quarantine in their native country due to strict measures introduced by the Philippines to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Stella Maris has been supporting a group of fishermen through their ordeal in Scotland

There was an overwhelming sense of relief within the crew who were driven to the airport by Deacon Joe.

One crew member said, "It's been a very difficult time. We have had to suffer a lot.

"But it would have been a lot worse if it hadn't been for the support and assistance from Stella Maris. They have been like a family to us.

"Deacon Joe has been there for us every step of the way. He made sure we were alright and has always been in touch to help with our worries.

"One of the highlights came when he arranged for Bishop John Keenan, of Paisley, to come and visit us. We would love to return to Scotland one day, and Stella Maris will always have a place in our hearts."

Deacon Joe, who ensured the crew received a final blessing at St Mungo’s church the night before they travelled, said, “It’s been so tough for the fishermen but they have shown great bravery in dealing with their situation. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them being cut off from their families and loved ones for such a long time, and even now they’re being quarantined for a month because of the pandemic.

“Yet this is why Stella Maris exists to provide such help and assistance in times of crisis. I’ll be keeping in contact with them and hopefully they’ll all get back to some sort of normality in the near future.”

Stella Maris has been supporting a group of fishermen through their ordeal in Scotland