Prisoners Released in Nigeria
You may recall our report of the crew of the vessel the MT MARO who were imprisoned in Nigeria in the last edition. No outstanding wages were paid to the seafarers’ families, no contact or visits from families could be confirmed and no port chaplaincy services were rendered. Two of our CRC chaplains, Rev Boet Van Schalkwyk and Rev Thami Tembe, gained access to these seafarers and were permitted to see 27 others in the prison. Although ’one on one’ counselling sessions were not possible, their positive responses brought about satisfactory outcomes restoring hope and reducing trauma.
This exercise opened doors for further assistance to be given in Nigeria and with the help of some very competent lawyers and after numerous court appearances, the 11 MT MARO seafarers were finally released and repatriated on 30 June 2016. The Sailors’ Society followed up with chaplaincy services along with aid to assist the seafarers and their families and rebuild their lives.
Visit to vessel MV IVS SENTOSA
Information was received from the the Crewing Manager that a crew member of the vessel, MV IVS Sentosa had died resulting from an accident on board on 21 April when the vessel was at outer anchorage off the port in Tokyo. Rev Van Schalkwyk was asked if he and his CRC team could provide grief counselling and debriefing for the officers and crew when the vessel berthed in the Port of Durban in May.
On 19 May Rev Van Schalkwyk and three of the CRC chaplains, Mrs Jessie John, Pastor Paul Richardson and Rev Thami Tembe boarded the ship and spoke to 22 crew members. Rev Van Schalkwyk held a committal service and Rev Tembe from the Mission to Seamen offered Mass.
One of the crew was a friend of the deceased and felt the loss – not only of his colleague, but a friend – deeply. It must be remembered that crews of ships live in close proximity for long periods with their ‘shipmates’ and when such a tragedy occurs, all feel the loss intimately. Hence debriefing and grief counselling are so vital. The team felt privileged to have been able to help crew members through the shock and the next step of the grief process thereby enabling them to cope.
The value and success of the team’s visit was aptly illustrated when one of the crew members said – ‘I now feel much lighter, more settled and relieved”.
Well done, CRC team, that’s what it is all about, lifting the load and giving hope and healing to our fellow men and women.