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Sailors’ Society halts port activity over Coronavirus and launches online help

Sailors Society support

In response to the Coronavirus crisis, Sailors’ Society has suspended worldwide port activity for two weeks.

Instead, the international maritime charity, which is supported by WesCom Signal & Rescue, has introduced virtual seafarer support.

The pause in Sailors’ Society work at 90 ports around the world was announced on the charity’s 202nd birthday.

It follows health advice aimed at limiting the increased spread of the virus. It also comes after the international state of emergency from the World Health Organization.

Chaplains will instead be available online through social media and digital technology. They will provide advice, support and arrange practical help for crews.

The charity is sharing mental health advice for seafarers and is setting up a special Facebook group for seafarers concerned about the impact of the virus on their health and livelihoods.

Health of staff and crews comes first

Sailors’ Society’s Chief Operating Officer Sandra Welch says, “Our chaplains usually meet 1,000 seafarers a day in ports across the globe. As this crisis has unfolded, we have been closely following health advice in the ports where we operate and offering virtual chaplaincy to quarantined seafarers.

“This suspension is the last thing we want to be doing - especially today, Sailors’ Society’s 202nd birthday. But we need to put the health of our staff and the crews we serve first.

“If you are a seafarer struggling at this time, you are not alone. We know this is a particularly distressing and unsettling time for many of you and we are still very much here for you, even if we can’t be with you physically.

“In the past two centuries, we have supported seafarers through many crises, including two world wars. Our dedicated and driven chaplaincy team will do whatever it takes to support you through this crisis today.

“You can reach our chaplains via our website and we hope our new Facebook group will become a place where you can share encouragement and advice with one other too.”

A special coronavirus section of the Sailors’ Society website can be accessed at https://www.sailors-society.org/coronavirus. It includes health information, advice for seafarers on how to manage their mental health in light of the pandemic. There are also contact details for chaplains and the new Facebook group.

Mar 20, 2020