In a major development, the International Maritime Charity Sailors’ Society announced that they are halting operations in all 90 ports, beginning for two weeks, in the light of the increased spread of the COVID19 virus and the World Health Organization (WHO) activating an international state of emergency, reports Safety4Sea
The society is now offering to seafarers virtual chaplaincy as it stops its port activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital Technology for Operations
The Charity informs that is
To remind, the Charity operates in 90 ports, including Southampton, Portbury and Avonmouth, Leith, Tilbury, Invergordon, Dundee and Montrose, Greenock and South Wales.
Therefore, it provides chaplains online by the use of social media and digital technology, for the seafarers that need advice, support and arrange practical help for crews.
Mental Health Service for Seafarers
- Moreover, through the chaplains, the charity is sharing mental health advice for seafarers who are having a hard time dealing with the COVID-19 developments.
- To have direct contact with seafarers, the Charity is also setting up a special Facebook group for seafarers concerned about the impact of the virus on their health and livelihoods.
In light of this, Sailors’ Society’s COO Sandra Welch commented that
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.
She added that although halting their operations was the last thing they wanted to do, it is crucial, as they have set as a priority the health of their staff and the crews they serve first.
Contact! Don’t Hesitate
Concluding, she urged seafarers to not hesitate to contact, adding that
“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…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.”
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