ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp, a free, confidential, 24/7 helpline which supports thousands of seafarers every year, was named ‘Shoreside Team of the Year’ at last night’s 2017 Safety at Sea Awards, held during London International Shipping Week.
Members of ISWAN and the SeafarerHelp team joined a host of representatives from the shipping industry at last night’s ceremony, which took place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in London. The Safety at Sea Awards are one of the most prestigious maritime industry awards and SeafarerHelp was announced as the winner out of four shortlisted entrants in the Shoreside Team of the Year category, recognising the team’s actions and intervention which went beyond the call of duty.
SeafarerHelp is often the first port of call for seafarers when they need support and someone to turn to, and the helpline recently reported a record-breaking year. The number of contacts from seafarers in 2016 was higher than ever before, with 3,073 new cases involving 11,228 seafarers and their families making contact from 122 different countries. Issues of social isolation and mental health continue to be key concerns, as do welfare issues and the problems of bullying, harassment and abuse.
According to Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN, ‘The Safety at Sea award is recognition of the amazing hard work and dedication of the SeafarerHelp team. It is also testament to the support we receive from our funders’.
He added: ‘While reaching out to SeafarerHelp is the first port of call when crews face problems, they also turn to the service as a last resort, and in desperation. Working with partner organisations we do everything possible to help’.
Winning the awards is a source of immense pride and satisfaction for the multilingual SeafarerHelp team and is recognition of the importance of the link between ship and shore, and between seafarers and welfare workers. Knowing that there is somewhere to turn, and that someone will help, support, guide and advise, is so vital for those working at sea, or indeed the families who are left behind at home.
ISWAN would also like to thank the panel of judges and the organisers, Safety at Sea, and congratulate the other winners on the night.
If you are a seafarer in need of assistance, please visit seafarerhelp.org where you will find all the contact details you need to speak to a member of our team.