In response to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on merchant seafarers, fishers and their families, the London-based charity Seafarers UK has created a new Seafarers UK COVID-19 Emergency Fund of £2 million ($2.46 million), with grants being awarded immediately to delivery partners providing advice and support for individual seafarers affected by the widespread coronavirus impacts.
The new fund is intended for distribution in 2020/2021, with 75% allocated to the international merchant seafaring community and 25% to UK coastal fishing fleets. Effective partnership working with frontline service delivery organisations across the UK plus those acting globally is already ensuring a rapid response to meet urgent welfare needs.
Seafarers UK chairman Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO BA said: 'The trustees of Seafarers UK are releasing £2 million of new funds to help seafarers and fishers recover from the widespread impact on their wellbeing and livelihoods as a result of the coronavirus. We will work with our charity partners to provide both hardship funding and innovative new projects to support our seafarers through and beyond the current crisis. Our long history of helping those who work at sea enables us to target effective and meaningful support to where it is most needed.'
Grants from Seafarers UK are offered to charities and other organisations providing frontline and support services to merchant seafarers, UK fishers and their families. Applications should be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guidance to applicants is available at www.seafarers.uk or phone 020 7932 0000.
For individual seafarers working globally, advice and support is available from ISWAN, a delivery partner funded by Seafarers UK, via its free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp. In the UK, seafarers and fishers requiring assistance can contact SAIL, a dedicated free Citizens Advice facility that receives an annual grant from Seafarers UK.