Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Patriarchal Encyclical on the Humanitarian Situation Facing Cruise Ships Stranded at Sea Due to Global Government Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

PATRIARCHAL SEE 31 March 2020 (ORCNS) - The following Patriarchal Encyclical was issued by HIRH the Archfather to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation.

DON RVTHERFORDVS ARCHIPATER I
S. ANIMIAE CARD. COMES ET S. STEFANI EPISCOPVS 

Qui Eunt ad Mare 

Patriarchal Encyclical on the Humanitarian Situation Facing 
Cruise Ships Stranded at Sea Due to Global Government Responses 
to the COVID-19 Pandemic 


To Mr. Kitack Lim
Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation
United Nations

Dear Secretary-General:

Those who go unto the sea follow a traditional code, and that includes the sacred duty that no person is left in peril on the sea when something can be done to save them. History is replete with selfless acts of heroism on the part of mariners in the rescue of others. We are, in addition to Our sacred and diplomatic office, a lifelong sailor and mariner, and the sea and her traditions are very much in Our blood. The naval-based humanitarian service of the Imperial Patriarchate, the Walsingham Naval Guard, with a naval heritage spanning back to the Imperial Italian Navy founded in the ninth century, likewise embodies, espouses, lives, and promotes those customs. Thus the situation facing over ten cruise ships and over nine thousand souls stranded at sea because governments refuse to allow them entry is particularly of grave and immediate concern to Us.

As the world governments continue to proclaim that their actions are to save lives and protect people, they have violated their own stated principles by not allowing cruise ships to dock. Contrary to their claims of humanitarian, benevolent, and public-minded action and purpose, they have slammed their doors shut and turned their backs on thousands of people who are stranded at sea. This vile, despicable, and revolting action is entirely unacceptable and completely indefensible. We reiterate Our demand that the relevant governments of the world permit cruise ships to dock immediately, and We therefore request Your assistance as Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation in achieving this vital humanitarian purpose.

That there are people who are ill on board some of the cruise ships, some of them apparently with COVID-19, should not and must not be permitted to be used as a reason to deny entry. A ship is typically a terrible place to quarantine people with contagious diseases, given the potential for rapid infection of other people on board. Leaving healthy people on board such ships may expose them to greater risk than if they were allowed to disembark. Certainly appropriate health measures and safety measures must be taken when ships with ill people disembark. However, We submit that it is a better humanitarian and public-minded practice to disembark ill people in a safe manner and quarantine them on land, providing them necessary medical treatment. Additionally, those with various other health problems who are stranded on a ship are placed at significant risk, given the limited medical facilities on board ships. Furthermore, that ships with no known illness on board are denied entry to ports is inconceivable, illogical, and reprehensible.

We are clearly dealing with fear-based mass hysteria, which can only be taken to be the driving force behind the government policies discussed herein. Yet, we as a society cannot abandon thousands of people while claiming to be for life, for health, and for humanity. Again, that the governments of the world have singled out cruise ships for denial of entry, even while they simultaneously work to repatriate their citizens to their own territory by other transportation means, is entirely unacceptable, shameful, inexcusable, and worthy of the highest and most strong condemnation. It is for that reason that, by Our holy authority, place under interdict all governments and persons who deny entry to ships and persons traveling by ship during this time of need. They are truly in peril upon the sea and are in need of help, yet they are being abandoned. We, therefore, now turn to the words of the naval hymn,

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bond the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

We again call upon You to exercise Your office and all of its strength to help those thousands of people who are stranded upon cruise ships. We ask that You use Your office to insist that governments provide safe harbour for those ships and safe, healthy entry for their passengers.

Ego Archipater R.