Mission to Seafarers COVID-19 Response

The Mission to Seafarers has recently launched the Flying Angel Campaign in response to COVID-19. To find out how you can support our vital services please read or download the campaign brochure here.

Responsible for over 90% of the worlds trade transport, Seafarers are key workers and it is essential that we provide them with the right support throughout the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Mission has carefully reviewed the needs of seafarers, all of whom have been impacted by COVID-19. Although this continues to be a fast-moving and evolving situation, we have identified some key areas where support will continue to be needed for some time to come.

Our Flying Angel Campaign covers the following areas:

  • Technological Solutions
  • Resilience in Ports
    • PPE global provision
    • Minibus adaptations
    • Seafarer-safe Centres Fund
    • Advocacy – representing seafarers

Help for Seafarers During Covid-19 Epidemic

Digital Solutions

Our range of new technological solutions to help seafarers during the Covid-19 epidemic includes our Digital Chaplaincy (Chat to a Chaplain), which has already attracted important funding from Seafarers UK and the Marine Society. With less than 40% of our front-line staff able to meet seafarers face-to-face this service provides greater access to our services.

Our Seafarers Happiness Index remains a successful indicator and by moving this to an App solution it will reach more seafarers. By incorporating the Seafarers Newsletter, The Sea, we also save important costs in printing.

However, this is of no use without internet access with less than 40% of seafarers having access to the internet in their vessels. To overcome this we have made provisions for Mifi (individual WiFi internet units) to be ‘lent’ to ships by our Chaplains to give seafarers vital internet access whilst they are in port. This has already proved a welcome resource in many of our UK sea ports.

Sea Ports & On-Shore

In sea ports, we have experienced increasing obstacles from the impact of COVID-19, with seafarers unable to leave their ships and Chaplains limited to gangway visits.

PPE continues to be needed and we know that vast quantities will be required for Chaplains and volunteers around the world. In addition, our vehicles will need adaptations, as we have already done in Manila, to equip them to safeguard seafarers and drivers and ensure a COVID-19 free and safe environment.

We know that seafarers will continue to be limited to access to shore-based facilities, such as shopping centres and coffee shops, and consequently, our 121 Seafarers centres will become even more vital as a ‘Seafarers Covid-19 safe’ environment. All centres will need a deep clean, Perspex screens placed to protect staff, plastic seat covering and copious quantities of hand-gel and antiseptic spray.

Acting on Behalf of Seafarers

And finally, the Advocacy element of our work is even more important in these troubling and uncertain times.

The team has recently helped more than 100 stranded Indian seafarers in the UK who were unable to get home, by working with the Indian High Commission on repatriation and providing vital food to seafarers’ families in India and the Philippines, where the seafarer is no longer able to get a job.

With 250,000 seafarers struggling to get home or unable to get to their ships, this remains a problem and escalating daily.

The Mission to Seafarers income this year and next will invariably be impacted by COVID-19, just when we need to help seafarers most. We are always incredibly grateful to our supporters for giving that extra bit during these difficult times. If you can spare that extra gift to help us achieve our target, we would be forever thankful to you so that we can serve seafarers, who are a vital key worker, in the coming months and years. Please make your donations in the usual way and mark them FLYING ANGEL CAMPAIGN for ease of reference.

A heartfelt thank you

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