Seafarers who find themselves in a difficult situation or require support or assistance can contact SeafarerHelp, provided by the charity International Seafarers' Welfare & Assistance Network (ISWAN), who offer a free and confidential service. Whether it's dealing with bullying, un-paid wages, poor working/living conditions or just someone to talk to SeafarerHelp is completely free and confidential for all seafarers and their families around the world. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and in all the main languages spoken by Seafarers including Russian, Tagalog and Hindi.
As well as being available to help seafarers, SeafarerHelp also provides assistance to other maritime agencies by working alongside them to help resolve the issues, as you will see in the following feedback we received:
"I have always appreciated the help given and the way those referred have been treated"
"Thank you for the valuable service/contribution to the lives of seafarers, they really do need people who are prepared to listen to them, no matter how big or small the problem seems to be."
What SeafarerHelp does
Many requests are for help with simple problems: for example a lost wallet in port, sickness, contacting family. Others are more sensitive, such as advice on how to cope with bullying on board ship, or a dispute over pay or terms of employment.
There are also serious and complex cases. Sometimes we have helped in an emergency - for example, we coordinated advice and rescue for a sailor who almost lost a leg in an accident on board ship. There have been several cases of ships that have abandoned crews in port, without pay or flights home, and SeafarerHelp was asked by crew members to contact agencies that could bring practical assistance. And there have been calls from seafarers anxious about whether their terms of employment required them to sail in troubled waters, or who have been traumatised after captivity by pirates. The following case study is just one example of the good work undertaken by the team at SeafarerHelp:
"We were contacted by a port chaplain in the Philippines who inquired if we can help an injured Filipino seafarer onboard a cargo ship along the Indian Ocean as he just received an emergency call from a crew member. An explosion apparently occurred in the engine room and a seafarer had his arm so badly injured near the point of being severed and was losing a lot of blood, obviously in a life threatening situation. The port chaplain gave us the ship's satellite phone number. We dialled the number and spoke to the captain who briefed us on the situation. The ship was hundreds of nautical miles off the coast of the Indian subcontinent which is the nearest shore.
We immediately alerted the Indian coastguard. The Indian coastguard radioed the ship and gave the ship's medical officer a reminder of his first aid treatment skills to prevent the injured seafarer from bleeding to death. They also ordered the captain to change course towards the general direction of Mumbai. An Indian coastguard fast boat was hurriedly dispatched to meet the ship in the ocean.
The injured seafarer was eventually transferred to the fast boat which headed to Mumbai while the ship reverted towards its original destination. The injured seafarer was treated in a Mumbai hospital. A week later, he was flown to the Philippines and recovered well."
Telephone – toll free (western Europe) : 00 800 7323 2737
Text : 004476 24 818 405