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SeaCode

SeaCode is an anonymous platform for seafarers and those working in the Merchant Navy, superyacht and cruise industries to raise awareness about some of the problems they face at work. SeaCode offers a safe space for victims and survivors of abuse (including sexual abuse), bullying, harassment (including sexual harassment) and discrimination – along with any other challenges faced at work – to share their stories, learn about workers’ rights, and provide a community of mutual support.

Background

In November 2020, SeaCode won a Shell, Ivory, Hafnia and BW Group ‘Women in Maritime’ competition, which was looking to find digital solutions to the problems faced by women seafarers. The idea was proposed by seafarers who had experienced harassment and other issues first hand but felt unable to speak out. Talking to others, they realised that many crew experience these problems but don’t report them, either because there is a culture of toleration at their workplace or because they fear losing their jobs. Although SeaCode was initially focused on helping women seafarers, this was soon expanded to include all gender identities because these issues can affect anyone.

The SeaCode team realised that there was value in starting small, by targeting specific sections of the maritime community to help build awareness and trust in the initiative. As a result, a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/our.seacode) targeted primarily towards Filipino seafarers was launched in 2021, generating a high amount of interest and interaction in a short amount of time.

In 2022, SeaCode approached ISWAN to ask if the ISWAN team, who are experienced in seafarer welfare and emotional support, could absorb the platform under our existing umbrella of services.

Mission

ISWAN’s mission is to improve the lives of seafarers and their families worldwide through services, resources, strategies, and advocacy. The values and vision of SeaCode align with this mission, with the platform seeking to put the personal experiences of seafarers at the heart of sector-led initiatives which aim to tackle unacceptable workplace behaviours and improve working conditions.

How will this be achieved?

SeaCode’s aim is to create a better understanding of the issues faced by seafarers by providing a platform for seafarers' voices to be heard, which in turn can be amplified to compel change in the sector. SeaCode’s partner, Ivory, is a technology start-up seeking to create a ‘safe space for honest conversations among employees’. Their use of technology to aggregate data from different sources is used by both businesses and industries to create a better understanding of the issues being faced by their employees. Working with Ivory, we will convert seafarers' real-life stories into trusted sources of anonymous data and insights, to build awareness and provide industry leaders with the information they need to create necessary changes to improve the lives of seafarers and their families worldwide.

What's next for SeaCode?

ISWAN, as a secular international maritime charity working to improve the lives of seafarers and their families worldwide, is in a strong position to act as a coordinator of different sources of information about abuse, bullying and harassment in the industry, and to provide support and guidance to those who need it.

Alongside the existing Facebook page, in the coming months ISWAN will be working to increase SeaCode’s reach to be inclusive of other maritime regions, communities, and industries. We will be working closely with the SeaCode partners to improve the way we interpret and use the information we collect. We ultimately aim to work collaboratively with other proactive organisations, survivors, and advocates to increase sector awareness and lobby for change.

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SeaCode provides a confidential space for seafarers and individuals employed in the sector to share their experiences, offer peer-to-peer support and access resources and sources of help.

SeaCode enables you to share your stories and speak your truth anonymously, knowing that you will be heard. By speaking up, you are fighting against often systemic cultures of toleration and silencing. Together, one story at a time, we can make the truth heard.

We invite you to anonymously share your story with us, from past or present, no matter how big or small, to help create change.

E-mail us at seacode@iswan.org.uk or submit your story anonymously here.

Resources

Downloads:

Videos:

Helplines:

You can access free, confidential, 24-hour help and support through the following multilingual helpline operated by ISWAN:

SeafarerHelp: www.seafarerhelp.org (for all seafarers and their families)
Yacht Crew Help: www.yachtcrewhelp.org (for professional yacht crew)

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We are grateful to our main funders for their continued support: