New Campaign Aims to Raise Emergency Funds for Seafarers
A new crowdfunding campaign aims to raise funds for developing world seafarers and their families that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The world's seafarers, especially those from poorer countries, are facing a number of challlenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are in lockdown with casual contracts and unable to work; others are facing difficulties due to lockdowns when they leave ships and are unable to return to their families with costs and little income coming in; and there are even some reports of seafarers being shunned on their return to their homes for fears of the virus. There is also the issue of their families not having income in order to get by and the situation is likely to get far worse before it gets better.
In a public statement last month, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim stated: “…We must also remember the hundreds of thousands of seafarers on ships. They are, unwittingly, on the front line of this global calamity. Their professionalism ensures that the goods we all need are delivered – safely and with minimal impact on our precious environment. These are people, usually far from home and family. Their own health and welfare is as important as that of anyone else.”
Getting emergency help to this group of especially vulnerable seafarers and their families will become even more imperative as the impact of the crisis is felt by small ship operators in those regions with limited resources to support workers, and as the pandemic expands in the developing world where financial and health resources are scarce. Contribute here.
All funds raised will go to the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), a UK registered charity, and dispersed through their Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF). Their membership includes seafarer associations throughout the developing world alongside shipping companies and shipping organizations.
“We warmly welcome this initiative as we are receiving more and more calls from seafarers to our helpline SeafarerHelp. Many are from Filipino and Indian seafarers whose lives are being adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. The funds raised will be used to assist seafarers and their families who are facing hardship because of the pandemic.” says Roger Harris, Executive Director, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network
ISWAN will ringfence the donations from this campaign ensuring that 100% of all funds raised will be made available to developing world recipients and all administration costs will be covered by the charity. Their Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) is available to provide immediate, essential aid to seafarers and families of seafarers, who are directly involved in sudden or unforeseen crises to cover expenses such as psychological counseling, medical bills, repatriation and other unexpected costs.
The campaign is supported by international maritime organizations including; ISWAN, World Ocean Council, the North American Marine Environment Protection Association, the Nautical Institute and the International Windship Association.
“The men and women working in shipping and the other ocean industries that make up the ocean economy are vital to all of us in this time of crisis. They are essential to ensuring that supply chains of food, medicine, energy and other goods keep operating. Please help support them as they are faced by the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is imposing on them,” said Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO, World Ocean Council.