Shipowner groups, unions and welfare organizations are pulling together in response to the devastating effects of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.
One of the main concerns is for Filipino seafarers, who represent more than 20% of the world's seafarers, to be able to contact their families and loved ones back home. Already, the Mission to Seafarers and Sailors Society are providing free phone cards, sims and wifi to Filipino seafarers who visit their centers all over the world. The Seafarers' Emergency Fund, administered by ISWAN, is providing funds for seafarer centers around the world to facilitate free phone calls and wifi for Filipino seafarers to call back home.
ISWAN is helping to coordinate the response from organizations involved in seafarers' welfare such as the International Shipping Federation/International Chamber of Shipping (ISF/ICS), the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).
Among the initiatives already being implemented include:
- The ITF affiliate Filipino union AMOSUP using their training ship, the Felix Oca, to transport humanitarian supplies provided by Norweigan shipowners and others to the affected areas
- The shipping company MOL donating $30,000 (USD) to the relief effort
- KVH's Headland Media using their daily news bulletin, Newslink, to provide information on the typhoon and aftermath to their 100,000 Filipino seafarer readers on board 10,000 ships all over the world.
- ISWAN is helping to share information and provide a service to seafarers, via theirSeafarerHelp (seafarerhelp.org) free helpline, who are concerned about their families back home in the Philippines. SeafarerHelp will have Tagalog speakers available.
- Seafarer welfare organizations and missions have also put their chaplains and welfare workers on alert worldwide to cope with Filipino seafarers who receive tragic news while at sea or in port.
- Companies wishing to donate to the Seafarers Emergency Fund to provide free communications for Filipino seafarers away from home should email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0) 300 012 4279.
Individuals wishing to donate can do so via the Mission to Seafarers or Sailors Society.
The following online resources are available for organizations and seafarers who need further information:
- People finder service via Google - http://google.org/personfinder/2013-yolanda/
- Free telephone calls to landlines/mobiles from the Philippines with viber http://viber.com/typhoon
- Reliable sources of news - http://mashable.com/2013/11/09/typhoon-haiyan-philippines-2/
- Crisis map of the disaster - http://google.org/crisismap/a/gmail.com/TyphoonYolanda
- Philippine Red Cross family tracing service - +63 (0)9179519711, + 63 (0)9154940415
- The SeafarerHelp website is www.seafarerhelp.org
Updated information will appear on the ISWAN website at www.seafarerswelfare.org