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Stella Maris chaplain supports bulker crew following master's death

8 December 2021

A Stella Maris port chaplain in Mauritius provided pastoral support to the crew of a bulk carrier following the murder of the ship's captain.

The global maritime charity's chaplain in Port Louis, Fr Jacques Henri-David, went on board the Meghna Liberty on Saturday 27 November 2021 to support the Filipino crew left traumatised by their colleague's death.

'I held a prayer service, and the crew members were encouraged to speak about how the incident had affected them,' said Fr Jacques.

Media reports suggest that the chef of the 55,905 dwt Bangladesh-registered ship confessed to stabbing the captain while the vessel was sailing in the Indian Ocean. It has been suggested that there was an ongoing dispute between the captain and the chef.

The cook allegedly confessed to the crime, following which the ship's officers were able to break down the door to the captain's cabin. They found him lying in a pool of blood and attempted to revive him, but it was too late.

The vessel was diverted to Mauritius, arriving in Port Louis on 22 November 2021, where the chef was handed over to the police. Further reports suggest the chef is being investigated for murder by Mauritius authorities.

Stella Maris understood that a new captain and chief cook were due to join the ship on Monday 29 November 2021.

The charity will continue to track the vessel with a view to visiting it again at its next ports of call and providing continued care for the crew to help ensure that their emotional and pastoral wellbeing is supported.

The Stella Maris ship visiting network has port chaplains and ship visitors in over 300 ports spanning 50 countries, which enables the charity to respond in a timely manner to support seafarers facing stressful and upsetting situations.