As the Covid crisis in India continues to rise with over 400,000 cases, worsening the global crew change crisis the International Seafarers Relief Fund has been set up with a target to raise $1m.
The fund has been set up by Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK) supported by The Mission to Seafarers, ISWAN, Sailors’ Society and other charities and already received pledges of support from Anglo-Eastern, Ardmore Shipping, Cargill, Hafnia, IRI (Marshall Islands Flag), MSC, Pacific Basin and V.Group.
Esben Poulsson, Chair of the International Chamber of Shipping, said: “We have all been shocked by the images and stories coming from India, and our hearts go out to the people of India and those from India working around the world who are suffering from the impact of this pandemic. It often takes a crisis to bring people together and this is no different.
"The fact that seafarer charities have come together signifies the scale of the challenge before us in the short term and looking further ahead. I am calling on shipowners and all those engaged in the maritime sector to support this initiative and consider increasing your contribution to seafarer charities at this time. When faced with significant challenges that maritime community always come together - this is what we do.”
The plan is to use the fund to deliver aid through existing welfare programmes in India, as well as standing ready to support seafarers in other countries impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity, speaking on behalf of charities said: “By joining forces to form the Seafarers International Relief Fund, our aim is to send a clear message about the urgency of the crisis faced by seafarers globally; pooling our resources to ensure that support can be delivered as quickly as possible. We are calling on companies and individuals from across shipping. This great industry can make a real difference if it puts its weight behind the fund and donates now to support this appeal.”
Speaking for industry donors Mark Cameron, COO of Ardmore Shipping said: “As we have seen the situation in India deteriorate rapidly over the past few days, 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.
“Many of those at sea are desperately worried about their families, as the situation in India continues to get worse. With limited contact with home, they are caught between ongoing travel restrictions and the crew change crisis, and the understandable desire to continue working to support their families. I would urge everyone to donate to this critical appeal, so that we can deliver the support and relief that will be needed for many months to come.”
Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet and Strategic Brands and Executive Vice President at AP Møller – Mærsk said: “Maersk supports the creation of the Seafarers International Relief Fund, and we will do our utmost to support our Indian seafarers and their families at this difficult time.”
To donate to the Seafarers International Relief Fund, please visit: https://donate.theseafarerscharity.org/sirf
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