The key workers of the sea need you now.

Will you help them?

Seafarers are at the front line of global trade – and now, they’re at the sharp edge of the global pandemic.

These 1.6 million men and women, who transport more than 90 per cent of the goods we rely on every day, are fearing for their futures.

Those at sea haven’t had the privilege of being able to lock down with their families and instead have had to worry about their welfare from thousands of miles away. Many have the added stress of not knowing when or how they will be able to see their loved ones again.

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.

For many of those who have been able to return home, or were on leave when the pandemic hit, there is huge anxiety about where the next contract will come from and how they will be able to continue to put food on their family table.

We've had more than double the number of welfare grant applications we would normally expect since the pandemic hit, with requests from the Philippines already surpassing the number received for the whole of last year.

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

“People have been on ships for sometimes 14 months up to at this point, and that’s too long for any human being to be away from family… They’ll be absolutely exhausted waiting to go home. And we can’t forget those also who are at home, who will be desperate to go back to work to earn their living, to put bread back on their families’ tables.”

Mark Tiffin, chief officer.

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

  • We have produced 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 have set up a temporary dedicated Covid-19 helpline for seafarers. The service is fully confidential and available to all seafarers and their families. Simply call +1-938-222-8181 or use the instant chat at
  • 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?

Here are some of the families that, thanks to the support of people like you, we’re helping through these desperate times:

The birth of a firstborn is a father’s proudest moment, but for Taylan, it’s been bittersweet.

After five months working at sea, he was due to return home to welcome his baby into the world. Then coronavirus hit and he’s been unable to get back. It will be months before he holds baby Atlas for the first time.

Taylan says: "I’m already very tired physically and mentally. But my wife is more tired because of the baby and because of the environment, the virus, everything, she’s stressed, thinking too much, losing a lot of weight, and I’m thinking of them. So it’s really hard times for us."

Sailors’ Society has encouraged him by bringing treats and showing friendship in port. “You made our time very nice there.”

Steve’s* family has had a traumatic few months – made even harder by the fact that he can’t be with them.

Steve, who works on a supply vessel in Scotland, has seen his contract doubled to eight weeks because of coronavirus, and can’t leave port until it ends.

He’s desperate to get home. One of his daughters has lost her best friend to cancer; the other has lost her job due to coronavirus. His wife is a key worker, so he’s anxious about her safety, and his elderly mother has just been taken into hospital, but he can’t be by her side.

Our chaplain Pauline, who is supporting him, says: “They’re going through really tough times and they really need him; he wants to be with them more than anything, and to give them a hug.

"He says it makes his day to see me. As a chaplain, I’m there to listen and to serve; to show empathy, and to be his hands and feet, posting letters to his family when he can’t get out of port."

*Steve’s name has been changed to maintain his privacy

Single mum Lucy Enero, 36, from the Philippines, works as a cruise ship security guard to support her two-year-old daughter Louvi and her 77-year-old mother Lorenza, who has stage four oral cancer.

The pandemic has left Lucy unable to work and the family with no income. Lucy was faced with being unable to afford pain relief or special milk for her mother, who is unable to eat solid food, until we stepped in to fund Lorenza’s food and medical care.

Lucy said: “Me and my family are very thankful. Sailors’ Society is the best organization ever!”

These nine Filipino seafarers were left unable to work after Manila went into lockdown. Scheduled to fly out and join their vessels, the COVID-19 quarantine was suddenly called and they were stranded.

Desperate and anxious, with funds running low, they contacted us for help. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to provide an immediate grant to pay their rent and food costs.

As a result of the appeal


welfare grants made to seafarers' families in need in Tacloban, The Philippines.


Seaspan vessels have been offered virtual welfare, following a request for assistance. We're also working with Captains to provide small group psycho-social and spiritual support.


Ports around the world have access to virtual welfare and chaplaincy as well as physical ship visiting where regulations allow.

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