5 Indian Seafarers Wrongfully Imprisoned In Iran For 6 Months, Safely Repatriated

Maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society is set to provide emergency care to thousands of seafarers and their families, thanks to grants from The Seafarers’ Charity and The TK Foundation. The grants will support Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network, a free service supporting seafarers and their families following a traumatic incident such as abandonment, piracy, an accident or natural disaster.

The global service, operated by 37 trained crisis responders, has been running for six years and handles two cases on average every week. Piracy is the leading issue the Crisis Response Network team has dealt with for the last two years.

Sailors’ Society’s CEO Sara Baade said: “Sailors’ Society’s crisis response team is specially trained to help seafarers and their families physically and mentally recover following a traumatic incident, supporting thousands through difficult times every year. We offer front-line trauma care, providing for basic physical and psychological needs, recovery and rehabilitation – and ultimately we help survivors to reintegrate into their communities and back into their jobs.

MT Manaman 8 crew on their return home to India
Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network supported the innocent crew of the MT Manaman 8 after they were wrongfully imprisoned, eventually securing their release and repatriation.

“Importantly, it is not only seafarers who benefit from the Crisis Response Network, but their families and seafaring communities. We have seen this with the support we provide following a natural disaster like the recent Typhoon Odette or the humanitarian crisis emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re extremely grateful to The Seafarers’ Charity and The TK Foundation for their generous support, enabling this vital service to continue for seafarers in times of greatest need.”

A recent case involved five Indian crew who were wrongfully imprisoned in Iran for six months. The Crisis Response Network supported them throughout, eventually securing their release and repatriation.

Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive Officer of The Seafarers’ Charity, said: “Piracy rates are the top issue for seafarers using the Crisis Response Network. We have long funded organisations that support seafarers affected by piracy, which is an extreme example of the challenges seafarers face. There are, of course, many other difficulties at sea including abandonment, harassment and violence. The helpline remains a crucial pathway to assistance for seafarers that we are proud to fund under our strategic outcome of better working lives at sea.”

The network is managed through regional hubs and provides support 24-7 in a range of languages.

Dennis Teleaven, The TK Foundation’s Maritime Program Officer, said: “The TK Foundation is delighted to partner with Sailors’ Society to support their Crisis Response Network. The project is very much in keeping with the aims of our founder, J. Torben Karlshoej, to support the welfare and health needs of seafarers and their families around the world. We recognise that, with the pandemic significantly disrupting the lives of seafarers’ and their families, Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network represents a vital resource in these difficult times.”

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