The Apostleship of the Sea

7 July 2017

Quick Facts about the Apostleship of the Sea and the nature of shipping

There are about 1 million seafarers on the world’s oceans on any given day.

Piracy is a scourge on the lives of seafarers, with 246 acts of piracy on shipping in 2015 alone, and in that year – about 20 ships were held hostage, and around 200 crew were held hostage. Some crew are killed or remain hostage for years. Much of this criminal activity occurs in the oceans surrounding Australia.

Apart from isolation and distance from family while at sea, seafarers can be confronted with very real threats and danger to their lives, as well as poor working conditions on some ships, so much so that mental health for seafarers has become a primary concern of union and church groups. Suicide, depression and self-harming is common, creating situations in ministry and pastoral care previously not encountered.

Related content: Giving thanks to seafarers around world

About 90% of Australia’s trade is reliant on shipping. Various ports scattered around the coastline deal with the export/import of goods and services. Australia trades in commodities, livestock and produce, together with a service trade that is generally leisure, with over 1.5 million Australians holidaying on cruise liners per year.

Cargo vessels generally do not have large crews, but the volume of shipping is huge. The cruise liner industry relies on crews of 1,000 or 1,500, but the cargo volume is less. Commercial shipping would have thousands of ships visit Australian ports every year, whereas only 500-600 cruise liners visit per annum.

Some busy Australian ports can have about 10,000 seafarers visit the local Stella Maris centre every year, with many ships in local harbours on any given day.

Information sourced through the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life

E: aosnational@catholic.org.au

With thanks to the ACBC.

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