The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) is the umbrella charity for the UK Merchant Navy and fishing fleets, which supports and promotes co-operation between organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers, fishermen and their dependents.
The Board, which formed in 1948, has 45 constituent member charities and maintains a network of 16 Port Welfare Committees covering all UK ports and Gibraltar. With a combined membership of 358 and each one meeting three times a year, the committees serve as an important platform for regional maritime partnerships to monitor and improve the quality of welfare services for seafarers. MNWB also runs the Seafarer Support helpline, funds a series of training courses, programmes and projects to benefit seafarers’ welfare, organises maritime charity conferences and hosts forums which are attended by government officials.
The MNWB is recognised as the most advanced, coordinated welfare board system in the world. In May 2021, the MNWB and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) pledged to boost the welfare of seafarers and fishers after signing a formal agreement. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formally designates the MNWB as the UK’s National Seafarers’ Welfare Board in accordance with ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. It also sets out ways both will work together to coordinate their approach to the provision of welfare for seafarers and fishers.