Food, fuel, clothing and electrical equipment are some of the many goods transported, by ship, to the United Kingdom, every day. I was surprised to hear that seafaring staff make it possible for us to receive 90% of the items on sale in our shops. Seafarers' time on land is spent at isolated ports, so we don't see them, but every day, men and women around the world leave their families behind to embark on year long contracts at sea.
Today, I learnt about the lonely and hazardous work that seafarers do. Industrial accidents, extreme weather conditions and piracy place them at risk of injury or death. There are no on board welfare officers, and seafarers rarely have access to telecommunications while they are on mission.
The men and women aboard these cargo ships are living in a physical a spiritual vacuum and are extremely vulnerable. While most shipping companies treat their staff well, a minority do not address the most basic human rights of their searfaring employees, by failing to ensure they have adequate food and fresh water or medical care on board, and withholding their wages.
I made my offering and sent up a prayer for all the invisible people, across the globe, who endure hardship and exploitation to fill our lives with good things.