Sr Mary with seafarers. Used with permission.

Celebrated annually on 25 June is the Day of the Seafarer. The International Maritime Organization states that the purpose of the day ‘is to recognise the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole’.

It is time to think and talk about seafarers, to thank them for their work and sacrifice, and to reach out to ‘give back’ something to them by some act of kindness.

It is good for us to acknowledge that 99% of our imports and exports are transported by ship. Seafarers toil on these ships for long contracts, crisscrossing the oceans far from home and loved ones. Their work is dangerous and demanding with conditions often that are akin to slavery. They miss out on many family celebrations.

We only have to look around us to know how reliant we are on shipping:

  • Fuel – petrol, gas, crude oil etc.
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Motor cars
  • Phones, tablets (iPads) and computers
  • Farm machinery
  • Food
  • … and the list goes on!

Here in Sydney, we endeavor to gift a ‘care pack’ to as many of the ships that dock (estimated 60 ships per week). This act of generosity is able to happen because of your contribution and the contribution of others.

Items that are in the care packs include good pre-loved or new t-shirts, warm work clothing, socks, jocks, beanies, magazines, jigsaws, fishing lines, basketballs, little Australian souvenirs and treats such as chocolates or sweets. These gifts are very much appreciated by seafarers. The care packs are a sign that they are not forgotten.

Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • Prayer
  • Talking about seafarers with friends who may not realise they exist
  • Donations – items for care packs or gift vouchers for shopping.

Contact us if you wish to make a donation here.

Sr Mary Leahy
Chaplain to Seafarers, Sydney