Ardmore Shipping, in collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping and a number of leading seafarer welfare charities together with a number of shipping industry participants, has contributed to the launch of an emergency relief fund in order to support seafarers and their families devastated by COVID-hit areas across the world.
Whilst the vaccination program is gaining traction, the crew change crisis remains a key priority, a huge increase in case numbers in India has brought the world, and the maritime industry, swiftly back to reality. With more than 400,000 cases per day, and a steadily growing death toll, India’s situation has resulted in some major ports across the world implementing policies which prohibit ship crew changes for seafarers with recent travel history to the country, as well as Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The situation is dire and, in response, shipowners, welfare organisations and charities have formed the Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) which has set a target of US $1 million, to be raised with the aim of providing some relief to the hundreds of thousands of affected seafarers, and their families.
Bringing together leading international seafarer welfare organisations, The Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK) supported by The Mission to Seafarers, ISWAN, Sailors’ Society and other charities, the Seafarers International Relief Fund has put forward a united appeal to the shipping industry to deliver urgent support.
The Fund will be used to deliver aid through existing welfare programmes run by welfare partners in India, to make sure that support reaches seafarers and their families as quickly as possible, as well as ensuring that support can remain in place over the challenging weeks and months ahead.
Ardmore Shipping’s Chief Operational Officer, Mark Cameron commented: “As we have seen the situation in India deteriorate rapidly, it is clear that this unprecedented crisis required an unprecedented response from all of us. Shipping is a global family and, right now, our Indian seafarers need our help.
“With limited contact with home, seafarers are caught between ongoing travel restrictions and the crew-change crisis, and the understandable desire to continue working to support their families,” Mark continued. “I urge everyone to donate to this critical appeal.”
Although the immediate focus of the campaign is India, other countries also remain highly vulnerable to the pandemic, including those with large numbers of international seafarers. The goal of the SIRF is to stand ready to support seafarers and their families afflicted by the pandemic in other countries, should the need arise.
To donate to the Seafarers International Relief Fund, please visit https://donate.theseafarerscharity.org/sirf.
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 20 7932 0000.