When a seafarer or their family are involved in a sudden and unforeseen situation, they may require financial support. In cases where no other help is available, the Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) may be able to provide immediate, essential aid.
A Filipino seafarer who had been working at sea for more than 10 years was shocked when he was diagnosed with hepatitis C at his pre-employment medical examination (PEME). The diagnosis prevented him from gaining medical clearance to work at sea and meant that he might never be able to work on board again.
The seafarer was worried that he would no longer be able to support his family. The oldest two of his three children gave up their studies to help provide for the family. The seafarer had also seen two specialists and was told he required various laboratory tests to assess his condition but he was unable to afford them. His manning agent was uncooperative and advised him that he was not covered by any insurance.
Desperately needing help, the seafarer contacted SeafarerHelp. The SeafarerHelp team immediately got in touch with ISWAN’s Regional Representative in the Philippines, Jun Pablo. Jun accompanied the seafarer to hospital for further tests and scheduled a meeting with the seafarer and a Sailors’ Society chaplain to discuss the case.
The seafarer was faced with costly medical expenses – one laboratory test alone cost US$500 – so Jun applied to ISWAN’s Seafarers’ Emergency Fund (SEF) on the seafarer’s behalf. The application was approved and the seafarer was awarded a grant of US$2,960 to pay for his medical tests and treatment.
The seafarer later contacted SeafarerHelp to provide an update on his recovery: ‘Me and my family are very thankful to you [SeafarerHelp Team] because of your kind heart. I will be able to support my family again when I get well and I believe that God made ISWAN the instrument for me to have a second chance in my life...when I felt hopeless and weak, you lift me up and gave me hope. No words can express on how to say my gratitude to ISWAN, and also to your staff in ISWAN Philippines, they really take good care of me on the process of treatment. May god always bless all of you in ISWAN so you can continue to give hope to seafarers in need.’
For details on how to apply to the Seafarers Emergency Fund, please click here. The Fund is jointly provided by The TK Foundation and the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and administered by ISWAN.