Australian seafarers’ welfare centres are thrown a lifeline

Emergency funds have been awarded to the Mission to Seafarers in Australia, to help them stay afloat during the Covid19 crisis.

The AUD 85,308 – over £43,600 – of funding gives centres time to readjust to the current situation facing the maritime welfare sector.

These centres – which are located in ports all over Australia, including Fremantle, Townsville and Darwin, as well as Papua New Guinea – provide a vital service to hundreds of thousands of seafarers from all over the world.

Many centres have adapted their services to meet seafarers’ needs during the crisis. Some are offering a shopping delivery service. In Gladstone volunteers are arranging care packages on request. Other centres, such as Hobart, are providing SIM cards so that crews can stay in touch with loved ones.

Many centres globally are struggling to remain open, due to the financial impact of the Covid crisis.

Crew of KK Pirapo receiving a care package from the Mission to Seafarers in Gladstone
Crew of KK Pirapo receiving a care package from the Mission to Seafarers in Gladstone
Care packages from the Mission to Seafarers in Gladstone

ITF Seafarers’ Trust director, Katie Higginbottom said “This pandemic has had a huge impact on seafarers. We can’t afford for it to kill off vital maritime welfare services, especially at a time when seafarers need practical and emotional support more than ever.”

Mission to Seafarers Australia’s National Executive Officer Garry Dodd said “Australia is so very grateful for this lifeline. Nothing could have prepared us for this crisis. This funding gives our centres the chance to get through the uncertainty of the next few months and to make sure we can continue to look after seafarers’ welfare during this crisis and afterwards.”

Maritime Union of Australia’s ITF Inspector, Sarah Maguire added “It’s great that the Mission to Seafarers here in Gladstone can continue its work – they’re providing an essential service to crews, especially at the moment when they’re unable to go ashore.”

Read more here about the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Covid-19 Welfare fund

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