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
6 days ago
Happy SEA Sunday. The Seafarers on board the ship OOCL BELGIUM were so happy to welcome on board the ship our AoS Episcopal promoter Bishop Dowd on board to celebrate Sea Sunday mass. I thank the Bishop to have had the humility to accept the invitation and to have climbed up the ship to celebrate with the Seafarers the joy of Sea Sunday. Sea Sunday gave the Bishop an opportunity to have a taste of ships visit and to feel the pulse of Seafarers needs. The Bishop also mentioned that this is my first but will not be the last. ... See MoreSee Less
On last Thursday evening I left from Montreal to Toronto and Friday afternoon went to Mississauga. Deacon Michael Ho took me to visit Hamilton Seafarers center and to have a meeting with the Pastor Dan with whom the AoS coordinate their work. Then we went to Humber Bay park to have a dinner meeting with the Anglican coordinator for Ontario Pastor Judith. Every thing went well according to our plans. My special thanks to our AoS coordinator for Ontario Deacon Michael Ho for organizing my visit and meetings. ... See MoreSee Less
In Montreal during the month of July after the fireworks of Canada Day every Wenesday and Sunday the fireworks continues as a competition between countries. So on fireworks day's we don't provide transport back to ship and the Seafarers are reluctant to come out on those days. On last Wednesday I took Midi Wi Fi hotspot unit on board the ship and the Seafarers very happily enjoyed free Wi Fi for one and a half hour. Seven of them used little more than 7GB. But the happiness they had in their face is more worth than the money spent. They were so thankful to my time spent with them. ... See MoreSee Less