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Master of container ship commits suicide during North Atlantic Voyage

The Master of a containership Maltese-flagged Santa Bettina is reported to have committed suicide aboard his ship during a recent voyage from New York and Tilbury, England.

Santa Bettina was a week into its voyage when the captain apparently put an end to his own life onboard, leaving crew members, naturally, distraught and traumatized. Particularly, the young seafarer who saw the dead body first was distressed. And Fr Colum Kelly, port chaplain, Apostleship of the Sea said, It was the first time he had seen a corpse.

AoS port chaplain Fr Colum Kelly along with two chaplains from other seafarer charities went onboard the vessel when it arrived in Tilbury on 21 May to provide support to the crew.

“All three of us spent time listening to the crew and of the stress that they had been feeling during the voyage. It emerged the death took place one week into the voyage. It was the first time the crew had sailed with that captain so they knew very little about him,” said Fr Colum.

“His body was laid in his sealed cabin for the remainder of the voyage. Particularly distressed was the young seafarer who had discovered the body. It was the first time he had seen a corpse.”

A Mass was said at the request of the crew. A new Polish Master, who has previously worked with the crew and was well liked, has now joined the vessel.

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