Pope Francis gives financial aid to families of shipwreck victims

Rahmeh Fremantle 2016 01 The livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1, pictured in 2016. | Bahnfrend (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis will be sending financial aid to families whose loved ones went missing when their ship sank in September. 

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said Oct. 21 that the pope would send an "economic contribution" to all the families of the 43 seafarers who were shipwrecked Sept. 2 during a typhoon.

The vessel, Gulf Livestock 1, sank 100 nautical miles west of Amami Ōshima Island in southwest Japan amid Typhoon Maysak. The ship was traveling between New Zealand and China with a cargo of 5,867 cattle. The crew consisted of 39 Filipinos, two Australians, and two New Zealanders.

Japan's coast guard rescued three survivors, one of whom died. A dedicated search for the 40 remaining men was called off Sept. 10, but the families continue to hope that they will be found through privately funded search operations.

The Vatican dicastery noted that members of the seafarers' charity Stella Maris had been offering support to families in the Philippines since the disaster. The support was given via internet platforms because of restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The economic aid, in collaboration with the apostolic nunciatures and the Stella Maris of the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand, will be delivered personally to the families of the missing persons and the two survivors, together with a small personal gift from Pope Francis, to demonstrate his closeness and solidarity," the dicastery said.

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