Famous men and women of the sea

Award recognises seafarers for their commitment, heroism and courage

By The Revd Canon Andrew Wright

Let us now praise famous men”, says the Book of Ecclesiasticus.

I write at the time of the year when we remember the saints in all their diverse forms. No doubt we will all have our favourite saints from history. Brendan, Christopher and Elmo are among many saints from long ago associated with the sea. However, saints are not all well-known and historic.

On the day I am writing this piece, the ‘Personality’ Award at the prestigious annual Seatrade event has been announced. Unusually and so appropriately, it goes to seafarers everywhere. Congratulations! I felt extremely unworthy to have accepted it on your behalf. I cannot begin to aspire to the commitment, heroism and courage which seafarers show at all times, but most especially over these last two years. In your own way, you have all been ‘saints’.

You are most certainly among the famous men – and women – who the writer of that passage may have had in mind. This award is a small sign of the esteem in which you are all held.

It is my hope that recognition will really come through the changes that need to be made to address some of the issues that have become very visible during the pandemic. Yes, seafarers deserve the highest of applause.

More widely, though, as we consider the saints, living and departed, known and unknown, we remember the call to each one of us to aspire to live lives of love and compassion. And having the humanity and kindness to take the time to recognise, appreciate and value others for who they are and what they do is a vital part of all that.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright is secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers.


A prayer for seafarers

We give you thanks, O Lord, for the whole company of your saints, with whom in fellowship we share our prayers and praises.

Inspired by them, and by your grace, may we daily grow in faith, in compassion, in love and in service.

Guide us to your kingdom a  grant us your peace at all times. Amen.