Thursday, July 23, 2020

Plight of Stranded Seafarers Spurs Charities Into Action as Covid Woes Continue

Despite Moves to Get Crews Home Pressures Remain on Many
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Yet again the generosity of the shipping and logistics professions has been illustrated by the response to the Mission to Seafarers 'Flying Angel' campaign with so far £450,000 of the £600,000 target achieved. The fund is to assist crews stranded by the Covid-19 outbreak, many of whom are either on vastly extended contracts, or unable to reach their ships.

The latest tranche of money was a generous £174,00 raised between platinum sponsors Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation in order to fight the severe welfare issues facing seafarers worldwide, during the ongoing pandemic.

The Grimaldi Foundation has generously donated £60,000 to the Flying Angel Campaign general fund to be used where it is most needed, prompting Luca Marciani, Director for the Grimaldi Foundation, to comment:

"Since its inception, the Grimaldi Foundation took a stand for maritime sector workers and their families, knowing how difficult life can be out at sea. We spent around €1.3 million for over 50 projects in this field, and today we are pleased to be able to provide support to The Mission to Seafarers campaign for seafarer relief, in this challenging era for these international maritime workers worldwide."

Meanwhile Seafarers UK, which has recently released £2 million from its reserves to assist Covid-19 related activities, has magnanimously donated the £114,000 balance. This includes £38,000 towards the Digital Chaplaincy platform, ensuring seafarers have access to help 24/7 as well as supporting the adaptation to Seafarers Centres with a £40,000 donation to ensure seafarers are able to utilise port facilities as lockdown eases. In addition, a further £36,000 has helped feed unemployed seafarers and their families in Tuticorin, India. Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive for Seafarers UK, said:

“Seafarers UK has proudly supported the international work of The Mission to Seafarers for many years and we’re pleased to continue this support. The Mission continually innovates and responds to the needs of international seafarers struggling amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Our grant funding of £114,000 encompasses a wide range of Mission to Seafarers support for seafarers, from the new digital chaplaincy service to providing food to seafaring families in India and creating Covid-secure seafarer centres for future use.

”Seafarers are at the heart of everything the Mission does, and they listen to those they support, using that knowledge to deliver meaningful support. Seafarers UK trusts our delivery partners with grants for core costs, learning from their expertise and judgement to jointly develop services which meet the needs of seafarers.”

Raising funds through the Flying Angel Campaign is a top priority for the Mission, as crews continue to suffer fatigue and anxiety from extended contracts. There are growing concerns over the impact on their mental health and wellbeing which will become increasingly evident in the coming months. In response, the Mission is focusing on improving connectivity to reduce isolation, both on board and on shore, protecting port teams with PPE and re-equipping the 121 Flying Angel Centres.

The Mission is also providing 'Mi-Fi' units to ships in ports to ensure seafarers can contact loved ones and have access to digital chaplaincy services. The significant donations from these latter two organisations, along with other companies yet to be announced, will assist in accelerating the progress with this campaign and making a real difference to those on the front line. The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General for The Mission to Seafarers commented:

“We are extremely grateful that our endeavours to assist seafarers during this pandemic are being supported by these key donations. Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation are just two of the organisations committing funds where it is most needed. This generosity has been echoed throughout the industry and makes a meaningful difference to the essential work we provide.

“The need to support seafarers has escalated dramatically since March and the generous contributions from these two foundations in particular will mean we can respond quickly to this escalating need. Our Flying Angel Campaign ensures our international key workers have support, guidance and connectivity during an extremely isolating and challenging time.

”We have huge appreciation for the work that our seafarers do and accelerating our offering to them is essential to keeping seafarers safe. Now is a critical time and it is with thanks to donors such as Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation that we can move rapidly to provide the support that the world’s seafarers desperately need.”

Donations to the Flying Angel Campaign can be made HERE.