ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If a seafarer has a problem or concern, our helpline team will do whatever they can to assist, just as they did for a seafarer called Joseph* who needed help following up on a money transfer he’d made through a ship visitor.
Due to a quick turnaround in the last port, Joseph’s crew were unable to take shore leave. When a ship visitor came on board, introducing himself as a staff member of the local seafarer centre, Joseph asked for help to send some money home. He was eager for the funds to reach his daughter as soon as possible to cover fees for an upcoming exam.
Joseph had not heard from his daughter if the money transfer had been successful, but he and the other crew members who used the same service had forgotten to ask for the ship visitor’s identification and didn’t have a receipt for the money they had given him. The SeafarerHelp team contacted the local seafarers’ centre on the crew’s behalf and spoke to a manager there, who confirmed that one of her colleagues had carried out the ship visit. The seafarers’ centre manager said she had personally supervised the transfer of the money, which should be received soon. The SeafarerHelp team passed this on to Joseph to put his mind at ease.
When Joseph got in touch again a few days later to say his daughter had still not received the money, SeafarerHelp followed up with the seafarers’ centre. The centre explained that the delay might have been caused by the need for proof of identification from Joseph’s daughter to release the payment, but they had been unable to reach Joseph to let him know. Since communication with Joseph was difficult, the SeafarerHelp team liaised with his daughter and the seafarers’ centre to sort the problem out, talking Joseph’s daughter through the process. She confirmed two days later that she had received the money from Joseph.
Many seafarers’ centres around the world have ship visitors who provide valuable services to seafarers unable to get ashore. Seafarers should always ensure they obtain proof of identity before handing money over to anyone, and make sure that they get a receipt and take the full contact details of the person they have been dealing with.
If you are a seafarer or family member of a seafarer and need assistance, all our contact details can be found at seafarerhelp.org. 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.