Global maritime charity Stella Maris is highlighting the vital need for personal, human contact for seafarers in a world operating amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our latest Life at Sea Report observes that, in a maritime world of increased digitalisation and automation, smaller crews and faster port turnaround times, the need for basic human contact remains paramount,” says Stella Maris CEO Martin Foley.
“In the face of the world’s collective failure to provide timely repatriation for seafarers, and the continued absence of a global vaccination or keyworker policy for seafarers, hundreds of thousands of seafarers remain in need of many kinds of support,” he adds.
Life at Sea: a world in lockdown examines the response by Stella Maris to many of the enduring crises faced by seafarers and shows how the charity has adapted its services during the pandemic to ensure that seafarers continue to be supported.
Case studies included in the report cover the growing pace of abandonment of ships; continued human rights abuses and modern slavery; death and increasing cases of suicide at sea; contractual issues of wages, shore leave and repatriation; piracy; and the impact of all these issues, allied to the added privations, pressures and challenges of the pandemic, upon the worsening mental health of many seafarers.
The strength of the Stella Maris global network of 1,000 chaplains and volunteers in 334 ports across 60 countries gives it an unparalleled ability to provide continuous care to those who need it.
“We cannot do it alone,” says Ian Stokes, the charity’s Head of Corporate Engagement and Partnerships. “The increasing contributions by, and partnerships with, industry, allied to the steadfast donations of individual supporters and the strategic support of several trusts and foundations, have enabled Stella Maris, in its centenary year, to maintain and increase its crucial service to the people of the sea.”
The report is now available free on the Stella Maris website at https://www.stellamaris.org.uk/life-at-sea-a-world-in-lockdown/