Our Seafarer Help Team are trained deal with a variety of cases calmly and effectively. Sometimes they deal with the case themselves and other times they will refer it to other organisations to assist. The cases the team deal with can vary from simple requests for information, complicated wages issues, repatriation, emotional problems, or issues such as a health problems or a death on board. Sometimes the team deal with seafarers who are in distress such as Kiran*
Kiran had been suffering from bullying which had escalated to physical violence being used against him. Kiran contacted our team member using the Livechat facility. This has a translate function which allowed our team member to communicate in his own language. This made it easier for Kiran to express himself. During the chat, he messaged a video which showed him being verbally abused, sworn at, called stupid, and also being physically abused. He was hit with a broom and elbowed hard in the chest. This was a frequent occurrence for Kiran. He had spoken with his manning company who had dismissed his complaint, his life on board was becoming increasingly unpleasant and he felt he could not go on. He was desperate to be repatriated as he was sinking into despair.
Our team members are trained to ensure that if a seafarer expresses extreme distress, as in this case, that they should be immediately directed to someone who can offer support, as well as someone who can sort out the bullying.
In this case, the team member offered to refer Kiran to a chaplain and the ITF. The chaplain could offer emotional support and a friendly face, and the ITF could look into the bullying and issues around repatriating Kiran. Kiran was concerned about being blacklisted if he talked to the ITF, and was not sure what to do. Our team member explained that the ITF could take action and offer advice without revealing his identity, and a much relieved Kiran agreed to talk to them.
The combined resources of Seafarer Help and the ITF helped Kiran through this difficult period. He is now on board a different ship and much happier in his work.
If you or a family member are a seafarer in distress or have some other problem visit www.seafarerhelp.org and we will do our best to help.
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*name has been changed for privacy