Long term support crucial for seafarers’ families hit by Typhoon Haiyan


The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has warned of the long term impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the lives of Filipino seafarers and their families.

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Immigrant People, which coordinates the activities of AoS worldwide, is putting together plans to support those affected by the storm in the long term. This is in addition to the many AoS chaplains and volunteers who are already helping Filipino seafarers at ports and on board ships.

Father Bruno Ciceri, of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Immigrant People, says AoS is committed to assisting survivors of the tragedy in the long term.

“The immediate needs following the catastrophe are being met by relief organisations. There is a danger that in a few months’ time, when the media focus has shifted elsewhere, these people will be forgotten.

“In cooperation with AoS Philippines, we will help coordinate the distribution of funds and donations for long-term reconstruction projects benefiting the people of the sea in the affected areas.

“In Tagbilaran, on Bohol Island, we have an AoS centre with a very active seafarers’ wives association under the leadership of Father Victor Bompat, the AoS port chaplain. We are trying to contact him to assess the situation and prepare a plan for future reconstruction.”

AoS is also providing free phone calls, SIM cards and wifi for Filipino seafarers wishing to call home, helping them make contact with family and loved ones.

Meanwhile, AoS port chaplains across Great Britain are continuing to support Filipino seafarers who have been affected by the tragedy.

AoS Great Britain National Director Martin Foley said; “Prayers and masses are being offered for all those affected. I have been in touch with Father Paulo Prigol, AoS National Director in the Philippines, assuring him of our prayers and support”.

Southampton port chaplain, Reverend Roger Stone, is supporting several crew members on board cruise ships who cannot contact their families in Samar and Leyte.

“I am also in touch with seafarers on ships and in the Philippines who have contacted me for help via email and Facebook.”