The Apostleship of the Sea (affectionately known as Stella Maris to seafarers in approximately 60 countries (many with multiple ports)
From humble beginnings in Glasgow in 1895, the organisation has endeavoured to create a home from home atmosphere for seafarers. Stella Maris has a presence in Dublin since 1910 (originally on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay and referred to as “the Sailors Home” by James Joyce in Ulysses and since 1960 at 3 Beresford Place) providing a Centre where seafarers may now skype to their family and friends. Ship visitation is undertaken daily (by authorised trained volunteers) on ships in port offering a welcome and friendship to the Officers and crew members on board who, in many cases are away from their homeland for up to 9 month. Nowadays, it is most common to meet seafarers from the Developing Countries. Transport is provided to and from ships on a nightly basis for all seafarers who have time to go ashore.
Life on board may be difficult – mixed crews having to learn to appreciate and respect each other’s cultures amidst much more pressures these days in the shipping industry to ensure efficiency and profitability in a very competitive market-place – 95% of world trade is transported by sea.
Despite modern technology, which has greatly enhanced communication, we acknowledge, as an Island Nation, and deeply appreciate the personal sacrifice made by all seafarers – isolation and separation from their family, friends and loved ones residing in the sanctuary of their homeland while they ply the oceans of the world in confined space, with dietary and sleep irregularities in uncertain, dangerous and suspicious waters to facilitate and supply daily requisites (cars, computers, fridges, medicines etc) to countless countries along with maintaining their families at home.
We admire their work ethics, their fine tradition of seamanship coupled with its enormous responsibilities – notably their endeavours to safeguard and protect those very waters that mankind rely on for constant sustainability for future generations in regard to food, employment and recreation.
We do our utmost to stand by all fishers and seafarers when required as advocates in their workplace, whether on vessels, dock, marine academies, training schools for oilrigs.
As we are not supported by Church or State, fundraising is undertaken on a regular basis and that coupled with donations from kind benefactors we manage to sustain ourselves and despite it being a constant challenge, we hope to be able to continue with our work for seafarers. Naturally we would like to have more benefactors but realise people have many calls on their resources at present.
Our facilities also include assistance in caring for their spiritual, emotional and material needs while they are in port (to them “a port in a faraway land”).