About Us

We all rely on seafarers

We’re there to support seafarers when they need us most. Men and women who work at sea can be affected by any number of problems: money worries, mental health issues and loneliness, as well as piracy, shipwreck and abandonment. These issues can be made worse by a lack of facilities, with email only available to less than 25% of seafarers on board ships.

Many ports have inadequate facilities, and our Seafarers Centres give those at sea:

  • a chance to access wifi and SIM cards
  • a comfortable place to rest and relax
  • the chance to get food and toiletries, and transport to shops and local amenities

And it’s not just practical support the Mission offers. We know that seafarers need emotional and sometimes spiritual support too.

That’s why we have a large network of chaplains who come on board ships, giving seafarers a listening ear and prayer, if needed. They can also connect seafarers to other organisations, or speak to them on their behalf.

Our mission is to care for the shipping industry’s most important asset: its people.

We are here for seafarers.

The visionary John Ashley

In 1836, the Revd John Ashley established the Bristol Channel Mission after being struck by the loneliness and spiritual needs of seafarers.

Following his example, a number of Anglican ministries followed suit, and in 1856 they decided to set up an organisation. The Mission to Seamen – as it was known then – was made a missionary society of the Anglican Communion and its work grew in line with the rapidly expanding British maritime empire.

In 2000, the name was changed to The Mission to Seafarers to reflect its role as a society that cares for all seafarers, regardless of gender. In 2007, it became a company limited by guarantee. By 2010, all the assets and liabilities of the unincorporated charity were transferred into The Mission to Seafarers.

Working in 200 ports and 50 countries

The Mission is open night and day, 365 days a year. We work in 200 ports across 50 countries, caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.

Throughout a long and distinguished history, The Mission to Seafarers has grown to become one of the largest port-based welfare operators in the world.

Our International Headquarters in London supports over 70 frontline staff and around 100 Honorary Chaplains. We also rely heavily on volunteers, who visit ships, drive minibuses and help us run our Seafarers Centres.

Without the help and support of our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be as successful.

To find out which ports we work in, take a look at our ports page.

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