ISWAN’s Regional Programme provides humanitarian support to seafarers and their families in South East Asia, South Asia and Nigeria. When an Indian seafarer was hospitalised in Nigeria after an accident on board, his company asked ISWAN to provide him with psychological support until he returned home.
Before his accident, Arjun* had been working as a seafarer for 18 years. He had graduated at the top of his class on a Merchant Navy course, and he worked on his first vessel for 32 months back to back out of his love for the job.
When his accident occurred, Arjun was working as an able seaman on a vessel sailing from Malaysia to Nigeria. He was injured on board when he and a colleague went to fix twisted crane wires – a piece of equipment pulled in Arjun’s hand, crushing his palm and fingers.
Arjun was immediately evacuated and taken to hospital where he received corrective surgery on his hand. However, the outlook for his two middle fingers, which were the most damaged, was not good.
ISWAN’s Regional Representative in Nigeria, Afusat Eke, visited Arjun in hospital. He was traumatised by the accident and glad to see Afusat – he had been having nightmares since it happened and feared losing his fingers. He told Afusat that he was worried about the impact his injury would have on his ability to provide for his family. His wife of seven years did not work due to a medical condition so Arjun was the family breadwinner.
Afusat provided emotional support to Arjun and reassured him that ISWAN had been in touch with the shipping company, which was doing everything possible to support him. Afusat continued to support Arjun until he flew home to India – she kept in contact with the company’s representative and ensured Arjun was able to communicate with his family while he was in hospital.
Once Arjun had been repatriated, ISWAN’s Regional Director in South Asia, Chirag Bahri, contacted the seafarer’s shipping company for an update. The company confirmed that Arjun had been admitted to a good hospital in Mumbai and would receive the best care by an in-house team. The company would also look after Arjun’s future needs, providing compensation and assistance with future employment when he had recovered. Chirag offered to continue ISWAN’s support by visiting Arjun in hospital in Mumbai.
If you are a seafarer or family member of a seafarer and need assistance or support, you can contact our free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, SeafarerHelp, at any time – all our contact details can be found at seafarerhelp.org. We will refer you to a member of our Regional Team if there is someone in your region who can help. Make a note of our details or save them on your phone in case you ever need our help or support.
*This seafarer’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.