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Church official says seafarers need protection

Thousands of seafarers go to a watery grave each year through the neglect of callous shipowners, according to Apostleship of the Sea National Director Ted Richardson.

"Many disreputable shipowners and charterers operate unsafe vessels with poorly trained crews," he said in a plea for the mission's annual Sea Sunday this weekend. "Thousands of seafarers go to a watery grave each year because of this neglect and callous disregard for human life."

Mr Richardson said Australians have a special responsibility to seafarers because more than 90% of our goods arrive and go by sea.

Stella Maris seafarers' centres and the Apostleship of the Sea focus on improving the quality of life of the people at sea. The Apostleship is working with the Federal Government and maritime industry on strategies to combat unscrupulous operators. Former Federal Minister for Transport, Peter Morris, had headed an enquiry into seafarers' lives on behalf of the International Commission on Shipping. The report, titled Ships, Slaves and Competition, was tabled early this year. It revealed many abuses, including the buying of children to work at sea.

Stella Maris Home Page (Melbourne)
Selling 'Ships, Slaves And Competition' (International Commission on Shipping)
'Slave ships' still sailing: inquiry (Education Age)

Catholic Leader