The Mission to Seafarers wishes to express its deep appreciation to the UKP&I Club and its members. Not only have the Club funded the WeCare training programmes, but have also made a generous donation to the Flying Angel Campaign and provided seafarers with recognition on its Correspondents and Rule Books for 2021. This high level of support is invaluable to the Mission’s delivery of its work.
Severe welfare issues continue to face seafarers worldwide in the wake of the pandemic as many crews remain trapped on vessels. Travel restrictions, quarantine upon returning home and limited contact with loved ones all add to the anxiety felt. In the midst of this crisis, The Mission to Seafarers launched the Flying Angel Campaign to provide for the immediate needs of seafarers.
Over the past months, The Flying Angel Campaign has made a significant difference. With ongoing support and donations, The Mission to Seafarers has continued port work where possible to provide vital crew support on the front line – from deliveries of SIM cards to call home, to shopping and repatriation support.
As part of this initiative, the Mission launched their Digital Chaplaincy “Chat to a Chaplain” which ensures seafarers have access to online support 24/7 wherever they are in the world. To date over 2,000 seafarers have contacted the service and the Mission has responded to 750 requests for assistance. The pandemic has taken its toll on seafarers in many different ways, with some feeling so isolated that they have resorted to ending their own lives. In times like these, this digital connection to home can really make a difference. The service offers one-to-one pastoral counselling, advice and signposting on issues to do with COVID-19, referrals to our Family Support Networks in the Philippines spiritual support and, where possible, referral to local port teams to provide socially distanced support in port.
The Flying Angel Campaign is helping to provide our centres with mobile MiFi units (individual Wi-Fi units), which gives seafarers access to vital internet access while they are in port. This ensures seafarers can be connected to loved ones and access financial and wellbeing support when it is most needed. Access to communication is crucial to crews’ mental welfare.
The Mission has a huge appreciation for the work of seafarers and hopes this new programme of change will benefit those who need it most. The support we receive is allowing us to maintain our vital lifeline services to seafarers and their families at a time of unprecedented hardship.
The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, said:
“We are extremely grateful to the UK P&I Club for its ongoing generosity and support of Mission’s work during a time when seafarers need it most. We have seen a huge increase in the necessity to support seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic and, with this ongoing support, we have been able to respond to this exceptional crisis with sustaining port work, offering new digital services and expanding our family support networks, making a real difference.
“We are very pleased for our international key workers, the seafarer, to be recognised on the front cover of the UK P&I Club’s new Correspondents Book. In a year where seafarers have experienced the most challenging times of their careers, it is appropriate recognition of what they have endured. Without the industry’s dedicated and ongoing support of the Mission, our work would not be possible. Supporting our cause gives help and hope to our seafarers during these dark times. It makes a real difference.”