When news came through of a death on board a Russian vessel, the Mission in North Tees were on standby through the night to support the bereaved crew when the ship docked.

On hearing the tragic news, our North Tees centre manager, Aidan Webster, immediately sent a message to the ship’s captain, offering any support that might be required when it arrived in port. He said “As far as we were concerned we could have stayed open all night should the need have arisen.”

Receiving no response, Aidan visited the ship the next day, where he found the crew subdued and the captain nonchalant. Aidan left copies of the Russian orthodox service and music he had downloaded to accompany it, as well as phone cards so that the crew could contact their families. He also let them know that the centre would be open until 11pm that night, should they wish to visit.

“Shortly before finishing for the day a request for transport to the Mission came through from two of the crew.” Aidan said. “I’m not sure what I was expecting but they were haggard and emotionally spent. One made a bee-line for the chapel whilst the other just stood dazed whilst we served him a beer. I left two of our volunteers to look after them, who said that they just wanted to talk through their experience. Apparently the only place they could keep the body of their friend was in the lifeboat.  It had been there for over 100 hours.”

Thanks to Aidan’s perseverance in reaching out to the bereaved crew, the traumatised men had been able to find someone to talk to and a few hours’ respite from the confines of their ship.

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