A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Sea Sunday – 14 July 2013 – Life at Sea

AoS Logoby Kevin Head sm 

The Apostleship of the Sea (Inc) New Zealand

Away from family and friends for many months at a time, working long hours and navigating some of the world’s most dangerous stretches of ocean, seafaring can be a tough, lonely and hazardous career.

Piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems that seafarers and fishers cope with.

Fishers are involved in what is recognised as the most dangerous occupation in the world.

Seafarers transport 90 to 95% of the food and goods the world uses every day, and yet these 1.3 million hardworking men and women who face danger every day are often forgotten.

AoS AGM Group

Some of the delegates to the AoS NZ AGM in Wellington, May 2013

Shipwrecks and Piracy

When aircraft crash we hear about it on the news; when ships sink, unless it’s a cruise liner like the Costa Concordia, it’s almost as if no one cares.

Wikipedia lists 67 ships as ‘sunk, foundered, grounded or otherwise lost’ in 2012. Twenty-five of those shipwrecks resulted in the loss of at least 943 lives, and probably many more.

Seafarers are constantly threatened by pirates. Between January and 23 May this year, there were 106 incidents reported of ships being attacked, including four hijackings and Somali pirates were holding 71 hostages and 5 vessels.

Garry Conway, former National Director of AoS, and Jess Davey, AoS volunteer, unveiling a plaque in honour of seafarers at Mount St Cemetery, Wellington

Garry Conway, former National Director of AoS, and Jess Davey, AoS volunteer, unveiling a plaque in honour of seafarers at Mount St Cemetery, Wellington

During 2012 297 ships were attacked by pirates, 174 were boarded, 28 were hijacked and 28 were fired upon. The number of people taken hostage onboard was 585 and a further 26 were kidnapped for ransom in Nigeria. Six crew members were killed and 32 were injured or assaulted.

(Information from http://www.icc-ccs.org/)

Stella Maris -- an official Ministry of the Church

Under the guidance and protection of Mary, Star of the Sea, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) cares for the fishers and seafarers that visit our ports.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, AoS ministers to those who work at sea and in our ports in Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga Moana and Napier. It is in the process opening or re-opening branches in other NZ ports.

AoS aims to promote as fully as possible the spiritual welfare of Catholic seafarers and fishers and the social welfare of all seafarers and fishers irrespective of nationality or creed.

The work of AoS volunteers and chaplains is an official ministry of the Catholic Church that began in Glasgow in the 1890s and was approved by Pope Pius XI in 1922.

AoS is responsible to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (a Council of the Roman Curia), and is staffed by Catholic volunteers under the sponsorship of the Bishop in each Diocese.

It is part of an international network of about 150 Stella Maris Centres worldwide, and about 100 other centres where AoS ministers beside the (Anglican) Mission to Seafarers and the (interdenominational) British Sailors’ Society.

Frs Kevin Head, Jeff Drane & Deacon Sid Wells

Frs Kevin Head, Jeff Drane & Deacon Sid Wells

During the celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington this year, at the conclusion of its AGM, twenty-one new volunteers were commissioned for ministry to those who work at sea and in our NZ ports.

Archbishop John Dew is the AoS Episcopal Promoter in Aotearoa NZ, overseeing the work of the National Director, Fr. Jeffrey Drane sm.

If you would like to know more about the Apostleship of the Sea please contact Fr. Jeff Drane sm at jeffdrane@gmail.com, or Deacon Sid Wells, the Deputy Director, at s.ewells@xtra.co.nz

If you wish to make a donation to the work of AoS, (donations qualify for the charitable donations tax rebate) please send it to

National Secretary / Treasurer
P. O. Box 273, Waikanae 5250.


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