- Apostolatus Maris does not provide overseas development aid. The development projects arrive in the port of Antwerp on a daily basis. Sailors from third world countries are sailing on almost every ship arriving in the port.
- And the non-profit organization Apostolatus Maris has its own development helpers; the harbor chaplains, assisted by a host of volunteers. Every day they cross the harbour and visit the ships. The flag or the home port is of no importance in this respect, as most merchant fleets nowadays sail with personnel from low-wage countries.
Stella Maris is well known to all sailors.
During these ship visits, our employees provide practical and pastoral care to all seafarers, regardless of nationality, belief or race. Our port chaplains and volunteers welcome seafarers, offer welfare services and advice, practical help (such as sufficient warm clothing) and friendship.
During the year, a crowd of volunteers prepares knitwear, warm scarves and hats, which are distributed on board throughout the year or as Christmas present. Many sailors come from warm countries and are not always adequately equipped to face the cold in the northern seas. Many also sometimes stay on board for up to 12 months without being able to return to their home country and their families. In the event of social conflicts on board, Stella Maris tries either to mediate with the agencies or to direct the injured sailors to trade union bodies.
The shipping police also regularly calls on "the Stella" when a serious accident is reported on board of a ship, sometimes with a fatal outcome, after which the police call for spiritual help at the request of the crew.
Every evening 7/7 Stella Maris opens a foyer for sailors in the Antwerp Harbor Hotel. This location acts as an NGO post in a third world country. The foreign sailors are warmly welcomed, if possible in the native language of one of their home countries. It is also a safe place with no risk of a rip off. They are served at the most democratic rates. They can make small purchases such as toiletries and souvenirs in a corresponding shop. And there too, the harbour chaplains and their volunteer employees offer a listening ear.
We must provide vehicles for ship visits in the port. And the design, maintenance and keeping open of the foyer, albeit in collaboration with the Antwerp Harbour Hotel, is a costly. Only through sponsorship and donations from private individuals and organisations we are able to survive.