PASCAGOULA, MS (AP) - Three fishermen lost at sea off the Mississippi coast is a grim reminder of the dangers that those working in the seafood industry face. At Saturday's Pascagoula Blessing of the Fleet, prayers were not only for an abundant harvest but also that God keep fishermen safe from harm.
Shrimpers say the Blessing of the Fleet was a way to show all their recent trials and tribulations haven't shaken their faith.
"With everything that's happened within our industry from hurricanes to BP oil spill we need all the blessings we can get," Steve Bosarge, shrimper.
How the freshwater will affect this year's harvest was on the minds of shrimpers and spectators, but they had three fishermen lost at sea weighing on their hearts.
Rev. Eric Camp of Oasis Church in Pascagoula prayed, "Wrap your arms around the families God that have been affected by the three missing boaters off shore Lord this week."
The missing men were remembered in a Blessing tradition honoring all Mississippi fishermen who have lost their lives on the water. A helicopter dropped a memorial wreath in the water in honor of all those lost at sea over the years. There was also a special moment of silence for those men lost recently.
"Having something like that just occur really brought a lot of attention to the purpose of why we're doing this,"said Rev. Camp. "That's why we're doing this is to pray protection over those who are involved and all the boats and all the fishermen and all the captains."
The families of fishermen say as they ask God to protect their loved ones,. having a blessed boat helps them worry a little less.
Lenore Franovich is the wife of a shrimper. She said, "It's just a peace of mind that the boat's blessed before he takes it out for the shrimp season every year because he loves to go out and catch shrimp for our family."
Father Tang Pham of Vancleave and about 40 commercial and recreational boats also participated in the Blessing of Fleet.