International maritime charity Sailors’ Society is mourning the loss of its regional superintendent in India, Pastor Joseph Chacko who died earlier today (21 February) in a traffic collision in Gandhidham along with his wife, Leena, and Meru Kaku, a driver at the Deendayal Seafarers’ Centre.
Joseph, who was 54, joined Sailors’ Society in 2012 and was instrumental in the foundation of the Deendayal Seafarers’ Centre.
He was also responsible for setting up ear and eye testing within the centre, which has helped hundreds of seafarers by identifying medical issues before they became potentially career threatening.
In 2016, Joseph was nominated for the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network’s (ISWAN) Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year, for his outstanding contribution to seafarers’ welfare.
Stuart Rivers, Sailors’ Society’s CEO, said: 'Joseph was a true friend to seafarers and a champion of improving their health and well-being.
'He worked tirelessly to better seafarers’ welfare not just in India but beyond.
'He and Leena, who was a great support to her husband in his welfare work, are a great loss to the Society and the wider maritime community and our thoughts and prayers are with their family.'
Chirag Bahri, ISWAN's Regional Director in South Asia, said: 'Myself and [ISWAN's Executive Director] Roger Harris had just visited Kandla Seafarers Centre on 10 February and had a great time with him. We were highly impressed by seeing the activities at the centre.
'Mr Chacko was very passionate about seafarers' welfare matters and his untimely death has left a big hole in the shipping fraternity. He will always remain in our hearts and we are indebted to him for his contribution to our Programme Steering Group.
'We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and all well wishers in this tragic time.'
Joseph and Leena’s funerals will take place on Friday (23 February).