In July 2016, SeafarerHelp was contacted by a Filipino seafarer who had injured his arm while working on board. The seafarer had visited the local hospital where the doctor took an X-ray of his arm and confirmed there was no fracture, so the seafarer was sent back on board and advised to do light work. However, the persistent pain in his arm was disturbing him and he could not sleep. He requested permission from his captain to visit the doctor again, but was refused time off for the next couple of days.
With the seafarer’s permission, the SeafarerHelp team referred his case to the ITF Head Office. The seafarer was hoping that someone could visit him, so the team also contacted the local seafarer centre to request that someone got in touch with him to offer support.
When the seafarer finally did get to visit the doctor again, after 4 hours of tests he was informed that he was unfit for work and needed to be repatriated for further thorough examination and medication. The doctor informed him that if medical attention had been sought earlier, the chances of damage to his arm would have been minimised or prevented.
The SeafarerHelp team contacted Apostleship of the Sea, whose Chaplain assistant helped to arrange the seafarer’s flight ticket back home and accommodation for him in the meantime. While the seafarer was waiting to be repatriated, he was given only part of the wages owed to him and was told by the captain that the remaining amount would be paid when he arrived home in the Philippines. It was only when the seafarer threatened not to disembark from the ship that the captain finally paid him what he was owed.
On a separate note, the seafarer reported to SeafarerHelp that safety procedures were not followed properly on board the ship, so the SeafarerHelp team provided him with the link to report his accident to the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP).
Back home in Manila, the seafarer visited the local hospital and the doctors confirmed that there was no serious damage to his arm; however, he would have to undergo therapy and further medication as part of the treatment. The seafarer wrote back to SeafarerHelp to thank the team for their efforts and support: ‘Thank you so much for everything you rendered…So pleased and thankful for all your assistance.’
If you are concerned about a health issue and need someone to talk to, all our contact details can be found www.seafarerhelp.org.