Crews in German ports to benefit from Covid-19 grants
Three seafarers’ welfare organisations in Germany have been given grants totalling 58,600 Euros, to help them through the Covid crisis.
A 25,000 Euro grant has gone to Deutsche Seemannsmission Hamburg-Altona e.V., that provides accommodation for seafarers in Hamburg. The hotel’s main income is from tourist bookings, which have ceased due to the pandemic. The Trust’s grant has been matched by TK Foundation, and will cover essential running costs. When the pandemic began, the hotel became a sanctuary to two sick seafarers who were receiving medical treatment nearby.
Deutsche Seemannsmission Seafarers’ Lounge Hamburg GmbH has had a 15,000 Euro grant to keep afloat its three seafarers’ lounges at Hamburg cruise terminals Altona, HafenCity and Steinwerder. The cruise sector has been hard hit by Covid and centres have lost the high-season traffic they rely on to survive.
Markus Wichmann of Deutsche Seemannsmission’s told us “This rescue funding will keep us going. There are six large cruise ships laid-up in the port, staffed by a skeleton crew. With this grant, we can keep serving the seafarers stuck on board – delivering essentials, and giving them all-important psychological support.”
Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (Ver.Di) – the United Services Trade Union – has had 18,600 Euro for its joint project with the German seamen’s mission to provide on-board WiFi to crews in ports across Germany.
Bremerhaven-based ITF Coordinator Sven Hemme said “Communicating with family and friends is vital for seafarers. Since Covid hit, some crews have been stuck on board way beyond the end of their contract, and without shore leave, so good WiFi for calls home is more important than ever.”
Head of ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Katie Higginbottom added “I’m delighted we’ve able to get these emergency funds out so quickly. And to projects and organisations that are having an immediate and practical impact for seafarers living with the knock-on effects of this pandemic.”