Stella Maris global support through Covid19

Stella Maris chaplains continue to provide support to seafarers, fishers and their families during the Covid-19 crisis, working in close partnership with Stella Maris colleagues around the world, the maritime industry, trades unions and others.

This includes undertaking port visits in order to provide welfare packages and other support to seafarers and fishers, with the permission of port authorities and in full compliance with Government directives. We also continue to support seafarers, fishers and their families via telephone social media.

Please continue to pray for seafarers, fishers, their families and the mission of Stella Maris.

Here’s a look at how our some of our Stella Maris colleagues globally are supporting seafarers and fishers in spite of the restrictions placed on ship visiting and the fast-moving situation of the Covid-19 virus.
(To see how we're supporting seafarers and fishers in Great Britain go here.)

Stella Maris Kaohsiung port chaplain Fr Yance Guntur and volunteers packing face masks for distribution to fishermen. Fr Yance later went on board several vessels to distribute the masks. Thank you everyone who've helped keep fishermen safe during this time.
tella Maris Kaohsiung port chaplain Fr Yance Guntur and volunteers packing face masks for distribution
tella Maris Kaohsiung port chaplain Fr Yance Guntur distributing face masks to fishers

Good work from our Stella Maris colleagues in Charleston, South Carolina who delivered some shopping to these crew who needed to top up on supplies. The seafarers were not allowed shore leave due to restrictions duirng Covid-19.
Stella Maris in Charleston, South Carolina who delivered some shopping to these crew

A lovely Mass celebrated by Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris) Australia Bishop Promoter especially for chaplains, centre managers, ship visitors, committee members and volunteers – in essence the carers who care for seafarers. 
You can watch the Mass on their Facebook here  

Filipino seafarers in lockdown in our Stella Maris Seafarers Centres in Manila during Covid show their appreciation and gratitude to Caritas Manila and Caritas International for providing much-needed food supplies etc. Thank you for your amazing generosity!

Our Stella Maris colleagues in Belgium ship visiting, taking all necessary precautions and social distancing measures.
Stella Maris in Ghent Belgium ship visiting

Stella Maris Abidjan port chaplain Fr Celestin Ikomba and his team distributed face masks and prayer cards to seafarers recently. Free wifi is also available to them.

Stella Maris team in Abidjan Ivory Coast distributing face masks and prayer cards.

Despite the much-maligned status of the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Australia, Stella Maris ensured that the crew were not forgotten, from advocating for the best medical care to sending a digital Easter message along with Easter eggs and other treats.

A message from the harbourmaster at Port Kembla, where the Ruby Princess was docked over Easter, revealed the impact of the message: “I believe that your blessing was the best thing they have received so far in terms of hope and spirituality.”

Read more about how Stella Maris in Australia supported the crew here        

Another article in Catholic Weekly highlights the excellent work of Sr Mary Leahy – Stella Maris Sydney port chaplain – during this pandemic. Read it here    
Sr Mary Leahy from Stella Maris helps seafarers in Sydney during this pandemic

Earlier in April, Fr Tran Van Thiet, Stella Maris port chaplain in Taipei, Taiwan, and his team handed out face masks, warm clothing, woolly hats, scarves, and leaflets on protection from Covid-19 to fishermen at the port.
Fr Thiet Stella Maris Taipeh and his team distributing face masks to fishermen

A prayer shared by Fr Celestin Ikomba, Stella Maris Abidjan port chaplain in Ivory Coast and West Africa regional coordinator.

We have had a prayer request also from Fr Tamar Frandy, Stella Maris port chaplain in Montevideo, Uruguay for several seafarers hospitalised due to Covid-19 in Montevideo.

And Fr John Mission, our port chaplain in Cebu, Philippines has also asked for prayers for the seafarers under lockdown in our Stella Maris centre in Cebu. There has been news of a coronavirus outbreak near them so they are understandably anxious and worried.

Please keep all of them as well as all seafarers and fishers and their families in prayer. Thank you very much.
Prayer shared by Fr Celestin Ikomba

In the last few weeks. Fr Yance Guntur (in white cap) Stella Maris port chaplain for Kaohsiung in Taiwan was approached by a group of fishermen who said they had not received their full wages as per their employment contracts. Fr Yance helped them fill out the necessary paperwork and submitted these to The Taiwan Fisheries Agency for further action. Not long after Fr Yance received news that the fishermen have now been paid their outstanding wages. It's a great result, however since that time another group of fishermen have approached Fr Yance with the same problem. We hope they too will get paid their outstanding wages soon.

Fr Yance Stella Maris Kaohsiung port chaplain helps fishermen recover outstanding wages

Our Hamburg chaplain Monica Doring has had change the way she delivers items requested by seafarers in port these days as 'normal' ship visiting is no longer allowed. Monica says we all have to stay safe and be safe for others.
Stella Maris Hamburg port chaplain Monica Doring

Our Stella Maris colleagues in Barcelona Spain continue to support seafarers amid the coronavirus outbreak through social networking, email and telephone.
Their contact details are;
email: [email protected] [email protected]
Telephone & WhatsApp: 629271391

Although the seamen's club in Ghent Belgium remains closed until further notice, our Stella Maris colleagues are still ship visiting (as of April 3) and try and visit each new ship that comes into port. If necessary seafarers are provided with internet cards. It's important for seafarers to stay in touch with their families in these unprecedented time. The Stella Maris team male sure that they comply with all the necessary safety measures when visiting ships so seafarers are kept safe. 

Seafarers in Ghent

In Hamburg, Germany, Stella Maris port chaplain Monica Döring is working together with her colleagues at Duckdalben Seafarers Centre and the German Seamans Mission to ensure seafarers aren't forgotten during this time.
Stella Maris Hamburhg port chaplain Monica Doering

Here's an article in Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse about how coronavirus Covid-19 has affected the ministry of our Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) port chaplains in US & Canada but in spite of the restrictions on ship visiting, they continue to be of service to seafarers, fishers and others in need. You can read the article here.

In Melbourne Australia, our Stella Maris colleagues get ready to make a delivery to the crew on one ship. The crew were not able to leave their vessel but our colleagues there can still deliver things to them (information as of March 28 2020). And on another ship, they dropped off telecommunications supplies to a cement carrier so that the crew are able to keep in touch with their families back home. A few snacks thrown in for good measure.

Stella Maris Melbourne Australia


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

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.