Around 100 pupils from Upminster in Essex got a glimpse into the lives of seafarers and the vital role that shipping plays to the United Kingdom’s economy.
The Year 10 students from Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School gained an insight into the work seafarers do and the impact of shipping on their daily lives.
They also learnt about the work of seafarer’s charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) and how the organisation provides practical and pastoral support to seafarers in need.
AoS director of development John Green who presented a talk at the school said, “We rely on the sea for many things and up to 95% of the goods we use or consume in the UK come to us by sea.”
“Shipping is one of the most necessary businesses on the planet and there are some 100,000 ships at sea crewed by more than 1.5 million seafarers, yet many are unaware of their existence,” he added.
Green said that in most cases seafarers are treated well, but due to the nature of their jobs, many can feel cut off from their families and loved ones, creating problems of loneliness and isolation. One of the ways AoS supports them is by providing free WiFi connection and telephone cards so they can contact home.
The school’s head of Y10 and assistant subject leader in religious education Andy Lewis said the students found the presentation interesting and informative.
“We’re located near the port of Tilbury but many of the girls were unaware of this, though a few of them had been on cruise ships before,” he said.
At the end of the presentation the pupils wrote letters of appreciation to seafarers. These will be delivered to AoS’ port chaplain in Tilbury, Wojciech Holub, for him to hand out to seafarers arriving at the port over the Christmas period.