As the conflict in Ukraine worsens, it's business as usual for the Sailor's Society's Ukrainian port chaplains.
The maritime charity operates in nine cities on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast. From Izmail at the mouth of the Danube in the west, all the way to the port of Mariupol, close to the country's Russian border in the east. In all these cities the Society's Port Chaplains are continuing to serve seafarers across the country despite the Crimean crisis.
Revd Sergey Bezvershenko, the charity's Ilychevsk Port Chaplain said, "Day after day the political situation in Ukraine is getting more and more complicated, but life goes on as normal. We're continuing to support the seafarers in our Ports and pray that the situation will resolve."
The ports of Odessa, Ilychevsk and Yuzhny are operating as usual. However, a representative of Lloyd's in Ukraine was recently quoted as saying that if Kiev closes the Ukrainian border, the Ports are also likely to close, leaving seafarers stranded aboard ship.
If developments take this turn, the charity's Port Chaplains will be ready to offer ever greater support to seafarers who would be further isolated from life ashore.
The Sailors' Society supports seafarers and their families across the world in port, at sea and at home, through a network of Port Chaplains and ship visitors, and strategic support of local projects in seafaring communities.