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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-07-12 16:26:52
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Vatican optimistic about convention on rights of seafarers

12 July, 2013 - The Vatican is optimistic that a new international convention that comes into force next month, will help improve the life of 1.2 to 1.5 million seafarers who at any time are sailing in a globalized worldwide fleet of 100,000 ships carrying 90 per cent of all manufactured goods. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, expressed its optimism in a message released on Friday, ahead of Sea Sunday 2013, which is being observed on July 14. “Multinational crews experience complex living and working conditions on board, months away from their loved ones, abandonment in foreign ports without salaries, criminalization and natural (storms, typhoons, etc.) and human (pirates, shipwreck, etc.) calamities,” the council noted. It expressed optimism that “a beacon of hope is beaming in the dark night of these problems and difficulties of seafarers,” when the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), comes into force in August. The MLC 2006 establishes the minimum international requirements for almost every aspect of seafarers’ working and living conditions, including fair terms of employment, medical care, social security protection and access to shore-based welfare facilities. The Catholic Church’s pastoral ministry to seafarers are carried out through the popular port-side Stella Maris centres run under the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) programme. The pontifical council hopes to see improvements in the health, well-being and life of the seafarers, and that all without distinction can have access to shore-based facilities and services. For more than 90 years the Catholic Church, through the Work of the Apostleship of the Sea with its network of chaplains and volunteers in more than 260 ports of the world, has shown her motherly care by providing spiritual and material welfare to seafarers, fishers and their families.


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