The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network’s (ISWAN) free, confidential helpline for seafarers is now available on instant messaging app Viber.
In 2017, ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp assisted 8,862 seafarers of 92 different nationalities with concerns such as family issues, personal problems, unpaid wages, repatriation and health issues. ISWAN is keen to make it as easy as possible for seafarers and their families around the world to get in touch if they need assistance. The helpline offers a range of contact methods including e-mail, telephone, Live Chat, Facebook and WhatsApp. Following feedback from seafarers, Viber is the latest platform to be launched.
Viber currently has over 900 million users worldwide1. The app uses the device’s internet connection to send messages and make calls. This enables seafarers to get in touch from areas with low or no phone signal and avoid SMS fees and calling charges (although SeafarerHelp will always call seafarers back if they have no internet connection and are only able to phone).
SeafarerHelp is now available on Viber from Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 18:00, UK time. Any messages received outside these hours will be responded to within the monitored times. All other contact methods for SeafarerHelp, excluding WhatsApp, remain available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – visit seafarerhelp.org for the full range of contact details.
Seafarers and their families can contact SeafarerHelp by message or voice call on Viber using the following number: +44 (0)7741 594549. The app can be downloaded here (on Android devices) or here (on iOS devices).
1Viber, March 2018 (viber.com/about)