STELLA Maris Melbourne has leveraged their network of connections to help provide medical help to seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to manager James McCully, it began back in March when seafarers on vessels arriving in Melbourne were required to continue working well past their contract period, without, however being allowed to disembark.

“We had one seafarer who was running low on his medication for high blood pressure. He felt unable to speak to his captain about this, and so he sent us a message asking if it would be possible for us to help,” Mr McCully said.

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“Our chairman, Seamus Quinn, has a son who is a medical practitioner, Dr James Quinn), so we sought his advice. After providing evidence and script details from the seafarer, Dr James was able to provide a script to be dispensed here in Melbourne. The medicine was then delivered to the seafarer by Stella Maris staff.”

According to Mr McCully, this apparently marked the start of something quite unusual for Stella Maris, who – thanks to the seafarers’ own effective networks – have since been helping many seafarers arriving in Melbourne with emergency prescription medication needs.

“From the initial request, we are now providing this very unusual but quite essential service to a different seafarer every few days,” Mr McCully said, although he cautioned that due to the checks required to authorise the medication, the staff at Stella Maris required a few days’ advance notice.

Seafarers requiring assistance can make contact through the Stella Maris Facebook page or via email on melbourne@stellamaris.org.au

The Stella Maris Seafarer’s Centre in Melbourne is a not-for-profit organisation and one of 353 centres worldwide providing pastoral care, services, and support for seafarers.

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