The Apostleship of the Sea was founded in Glasgow, Scotland in 1920. At this time Britain had one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, employing many thousands of British seafarers. The Apostleship of the Sea ran large seafarers’ hostels in all the major port towns where seafarers could stay while their ships were in port, often for weeks at a time. Hundreds of volunteers from the local parishes were involved in providing hospitality and entertainment for seafarers in these hostels, which were always full.
Then globalisation and the drive for greater profit margins, combined with technological advances, changed the face of international shipping forever. Ships became larger, ports moved down river, and turnaround times for ships in port were reduced dramatically. Crews also became smaller, and were increasingly recruited from developing world countries where wages were lower. Owners registered their ships under so-called flags of convenience to avoid stringent regulatory controls.
Today’s seafarer is no longer in port for a few nights, but often only for a few hours. In these changed circumstances they no longer need the reactive welcome of a hostel, but the pro-active outreach of a ship visit to assess practical needs, backed up by a modern drop-in centre inside the docks.
These centres are equipped with email terminals and telephones to facilitate contact with loved ones back home whom they may not have seen for nine or even twelve months. They are a place to relax for an hour or so, to have a drink and have a chat with other seafarers who may be using the centre. They provide a chance to stock up on essential items needed for their next stretch at sea.
While the nature of our work has evolved, our founding belief that every seafarer deserves fair working conditions, respect for their human rights and the very best we can offer remains at the heart of what we do.
Stella Maris – Our Lady, Star of The Sea
‘Stella Maris’ is the name by which many seafarers also know the Apostleship of the Sea. This is because ‘Stella Maris, Star of the Sea’, is an ancient title for Mary, the Mother of God, traditionally used by seafarers and others associated with the sea. Just as seafarers have traditionally depended on the stars for navigation, so they trust in the protection and guidance of Our Lady, Stella Maris is the patron of the Apostleship of the Sea.
News & Stories
1 week ago
Last evening we had offered a special mass for the mother's and wife's of the Seafarers. Representing the mother's Mei Mendoza lit the candle in the beginning of the mass. I could see an emotional and active participation of the Seafarers in the Eucharistic Celebration. ... See MoreSee Less
As the resurrection of Jesus illuminates every heart and soul on earth the season of Easter invites us to illuminate our hearts. The Seafarers from different parts of the world after the celebration of the Eucharist feeling illuminated thank God in singing 'Salamat'. ... See MoreSee Less
Last night also Mariners House was filled with the Seafarers. All enjoyed their time and hospitality offered to them. ... See MoreSee Less
With Easter the whether also became favourable to Seafarers to come out of the ship and now we are getting more Seafarers coming to our Mariners House to enjoy the facilities. ... See MoreSee Less
Yesterday I had visitted ships and spoke to the Seafarers about the importance of the Holy week. I had an opportunity also to have lunch with Captain Felino from Toronto Express. He had been a very good Catholic friend of mine whom I had known for more than fifteen years in the AoS Chaplaincy in Montreal. Three of the Catholic Seafarers from his ship came out with me for Palm Sunday mass on Saturday evening at 4.30p.m because they were to sail Sunday morning. ... See MoreSee Less