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.
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
- Digital Chaplaincy
- Listening to seafarers; Seafarers’ Happiness Index App
- MiFi Units for onboard communications
- Resilience in Ports
- PPE global provision
- Minibus adaptations
- Seafarer-safe Centres Fund
- Advocacy, representing seafarers
Our Technological Solutions includes our new Digital Chaplaincy (Chat to a Chaplain), which has already attracted important funding for the first six months 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.
In 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. The provision of Mifi (individual wifi units) for Chaplains to ‘lend’ to ships to give them vital access to wifi whilst they are in port, has already proved a welcome resource in some of our UK ports.
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 ‘Seafarers-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.
And finally, the Advocacy element of our work is even more important in these troubling and uncertain times. The team has recently helped 94 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 150,000 seafarers struggling to get home or unable to get to their ships, this remains a problem.
The Mission’s income this year and next will invariably be impacted by COVID-19, just when we need to help seafarers more. We are always incredibly grateful to our supporters for giving that extra bit during difficult times and if you can spare that extra gift to help us achieve our target, we would be forever thankful to you, so we can serve seafarers 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.