The key workers of the sea need you now.

Will you help them?

One of the most shocking images on our television screens over the past few weeks has been that of empty supermarket shelves, stripped clean by panic buyers.

It’s a stark reminder of our dependence on the food supply chains that keep our cupboards and our stomachs full – thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of the world’s 1.6 million seafarers.

The social distancing we are now finding so desperately hard is normal life for seafarers, with typical contracts keeping them away from their friends and families for up to nine months at a time.

But now, they don’t know when or how they’re going to get home. Crews around the world are on ships trapped in port, stranded thousands of miles from home and unable to return, while their loved ones are facing self-isolation - or sickness - alone.

With many on contracts and ports around the world on lockdown, they are also wrestling with the worry of not knowing when they will next be able to work.

One seafarer told us: “I completed my contract on second March, could not sign off as we were in South Korean and Chinese ports. In Singapore today, cannot sign off as we were in China four days ago. I was to sign off from Colombo around the 22nd, reliever packed and ready with his ticket. As of Sunday, Colombo has suspended crew changes. Next port after Colombo is Lome, West Africa, a three-week sailing. Just heard even they have suspended crew changes...

“Dunno how long we will get stuck here...”

This is putting intolerable strain on seafarers’ mental and emotional health, at a time when we have been forced to pull our chaplains away from offering face-to-face support.

We will not abandon them. We are diverting the full resources of the charity to finding ways of supporting these men and women.

  • We are producing mental health resources and hosting an online community for seafarers worried about coronavirus
  • We are sharing chaplains’ contact details so seafarers can call them directly whenever they need to talk
  • We are preparing to temporarily extend our helpline for shipping companies free-of-charge to all seafarers who need support
  • We are offering grants to help seafarers and their families whose incomes are decimated through loss of work

But we cannot do this without your help. None of us could have anticipated we would be faced with this desperate need. The harsh reality is, we need more money to meet it.

Please, support these key workers of the sea when they need us the most.

We all rely on seafarers – and today, more than ever, seafarers rely on us.

Can you give a seafarer hope at this dark time?

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