19 Aug
2019

News

Chaplain celebrates 10 years of service to seafarers

19 Aug, 2019

Sailors’ Society chaplain Rivelino (Riva) dos Santos is celebrating a decade of service to seafarers in the port of Paranagua, Brazil.

Riva, who began working for the charity in 2009, visits seafarers on board ships, gives them access to Wi-Fi so they can contact home and, when necessary, offers counselling and welfare assistance.

Sailors’ Society chaplain Riva dos Santos
Sailors’ Society chaplain Riva dos Santos

During his 10 years as a port chaplain for Sailors’ Society, Riva has visited 5,196 ships, given lifts to 13,786 seafarers and reached more than 100,000 men and women working on board.

Sandra Welch, Sailors’ Society’s chief operating officer, said: “Riva continues to be an incredible help to seafarers visiting the port of Paranagua, co-ordinating the pastoral support provided by our network of five port chaplains in Brazil. We are extremely proud and grateful to him for all he does.”

Riva has been there for seafarers during times of extreme sadness and stress, including visiting seafarers in hospital and offering counselling in tragic cases of suicide at sea. But he also recalls times of great happiness such as when a seafarer who had confided his longing for a child later contacted him with the happy news that his wife was expecting a baby.

Of the support he provides, Riva said: “To listen and to be there with them; this is the best way to help. It is really important for a chaplain to hear the story of the seafarers, about their country and especially about the situation on board and with their families.

“What they most want is to have contact with their families - communication is still the priority.”

Riva and his fellow Sailors’ Society chaplains reach out to 1,000 seafarers in more than 90 ports around the world each day.

Seafarers can find their local chaplain at: https://www.sailors-society.org/support-for-seafarers

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