Families of crew members of a cargo ship that had gone missing off Japan in September, have received a donation from Pope Francis.
The ship with 43 crew aboard including Mount Isa vet Lukas Orda went missing in a typhoon in the South China Sea on September 2 and only two have been found alive and another one dead.
With 39 crew from the Philippines, a strongly Catholic country, the Vatican said in a statement that economic aid would "be given personally to the families of the missing persons and the two survivors, along with a small personal gift from Pope Francis, to express his closeness and solidarity".
"This contribution is accompanied, from the very first days of the disaster, by spiritual, psychological and personalised support, offered to the Philippine families, by a team of professionals, chaplains and nuns of the Stella Maris Centres of the nation," the Vatican said.
"The support, which in view of the COVID-19 restrictions has so far been implemented through the use of social media and a digital platform, will continue for several months. This work is entrusted to Mary, Star of the Sea, the protectress of seafarers, so that she will give courage and strength to all family members to face the future not with uncertainties but with confidence and serenity."
The gift, according to the Vatican News, would be delivered in "collaboration with the Apostolic Nunciatures and the seafarers' Stella Maris centres in the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand."
The carrier Gulf Livestock 1 sank in a typhoon in the East China Sea on September 2 travelling from Napier, New Zealand to China.
A GoFundMe campaign started two weeks later after Japan called off the search for survivors, with families also asking for support, it has raised over $115,000 which has helped put search helicopters and planes in the sky and fund satellite imagery support.
See the petition here.
Lukas Orda had recently landed a job as a veterinarian in the live export sector, and was onboard.
Mr Orda went to Good Shepherd Catholic College in Mount Isa, studied at James Cook University and recently worked as an equine vet on the Gold Coast.
Mr Orda's parents reside in Mount Isa, and work at the North West Hospital and Health Service.
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