We are entering a very difficult period across the globe. For many, the issue of Coronavirus has already been very real for several months. Many of the rest of us are now discovering what it can mean for daily life.
As member societies of ICMA our first thoughts and prayers are for seafarers, fishers and their families. As ever, we will be utterly dependent on them continuing their work to feed and sustain us in the coming months. Their heroism in challenging circumstances will perhaps be more apparent than ever. Perhaps some who never spare a thought for them will now discover a new awareness.
We are aware that many are now subject to new restrictions, including the denial of shore leave. While the difficult decisions facing port authorities are well understood, we will continue to make our voice heard in seeking to ensure that such measures are proportionate and properly respectful of seafarers’ rights. This is a difficult and anxious time for them, unable to support their families in the midst of difficulty as most of us will be doing.
Those thoughts and prayers are also for our front line teams, the staff and volunteers of all our societies. Many are now prevented from doing their work. Many Centres have had to close or seafarers are unable to reach them. Port access is increasingly being denied and ship visiting is difficult. Many are seeking to continue ministry with significant determination and courage. It is our shared hope that we can sustain seafarer support in some way over these coming months but we will have to think and plan carefully, creatively and co-operatively.
Let us pray for each other and seek to maintain kindness throughout the coming weeks. Keep well.