Pope Francis paid tribute yesterday to the hundreds of thousands of seafarers stuck on ships due to the coronavirus pandemic, a situation the United Nations has described as a humanitarian crisis.
In a special video message dedicated to crew across the world, Francis said: “In these past months, your lives and your work have seen significant changes; you have had to make, and are continuing to make, many sacrifices.”
Pope Francis offered his prayers and solidarity to those who work at sea.
“Long periods spent aboard ships without being able to disembark, separation from families, friends and native countries, fear of infection…All these things are a heavy burden to bear, now more than ever,” the pope said going on to praise the work carried out by chaplains and the volunteers of the catholic charity Stella Maris.
Writing for Splash last month, Esteban Pacha, chair of the trustees of Stella Maris, noted: “The Covid-19 pandemic is easily the biggest challenge our port chaplains have faced in recent times.”