International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society has launched a dedicated helpline for seafarers and their families. The confidential, 24 hour service is there to offer support and welfare to those worried or adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sandra Welch, the charity’s COO and director of programme, said: “We’ve seen an increase in calls for help and advice of late and there’s a lot of uncertainty, so our new dedicated Covid-19 helpline is a welcome addition to our services.
“Many seafarers don’t know when they will sign-off and return home, others haven’t been able to start contracts due to lockdowns. They are worried about losing their income and anxious about loved ones – the toll on their mental health is apparent.
“We are also offering grants to help seafarers and their families whose incomes have been decimated through loss of work and would encourage those in need to get in touch.”
The helpline is a result of the charity’s Covid-19 emergency appeal, which has seen donations pour in from hundreds of individual supporters and shipping companies alike, including generous contributions from North P&I, Trinity House and West P&I.
Sandra continued: “We’ve had an incredible response to our ongoing Covid-19 emergency appeal and are so grateful for everyone’s support, but there is still so much to be done and the strain seafarers are under is ever-increasing.”
With lockdowns ongoing in many countries, the charity has ensured a continued service by offering virtual chaplaincy and welfare support, with physical ship visiting only taking place where regulations allow.
Seafarers can access a suite of practical resources produced by Sailors’ Society including an advice hub, Facebook support group and podcasts to help seafarers during the coronavirus crisis.
Shipping companies have also contacted Sailors’ Society, known globally for its award-winning wellness at sea programme, asking for help in supporting crews through the pandemic.
Seafarers and their family members can contact Sailors’ Society’s dedicated helpline by calling +1-938-222-8181 or instant chat via www.wellnessatsea.org/covid-19