Stella Maris welcomes crew change at Felixstowe Port

Seven seafarers from a container ship are bound for home after spending almost 14 months working at sea.

During a visit to Felixstowe port last Friday 24 July, our East Anglia chaplain Julian Wong learnt that seven crew members from the container ship APL Norway would be going home after working at sea and being away from their families in the Philippines for nearly 14 months.

This was great news for the seafarers and Julian was delighted for them and that the crew change was able to take place.

To celebrate the occasion, Julian bought chocolate and freshly made doughnuts, filling up seven bags with the goodies, copies of Stella Maris magazines and packs of prayer cards for the seafarers.

Their transport arrived later that evening to take them to the airport. Julian said a quick prayer for their safe journey home. The crew are are scheduled to board their flight home tomorrow 30 July. Upon arrival in Metro Manila, they will have to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Julian provided them his contact details so they could continue to keep in touch with him.  He says, “I feel very blessed as a Stella Maris Regional Port Chaplain to be able to share this joyful moment after the last few months of lockdown. I am able to maintain contact with many seafarers, thanks to modern technology and social media. I hope the crew change situation will continue to improve to enable seafarers to fly home from any country where they sign off. May God bless all seafarers and their families.”

Julian continues, “Seafarers are hero key workers in this coronavirus pandemic. They are invisible to the general public. Without them and the shipping industry, our supermarkets would have been empty long ago. So, many thanks to them and all who work in the shipping industry. Huge thanks also to the port workers in big container ports like Felixstowe Port that operates 24/7. Without all these people and in particular seafarers we would not be able to get all the supplies that we need every day during the lockdown and all through the year.”

Separately on 4 July, Julian was informed that five Filipino seafarers from the Maersk Serangoon were able to return home following a crew change at Felixstowe Port.

Huge thanks to Felixstowe Port and the UK Government for enabling crew change to take place.