Emergency aid for locked down Filipino seafarers

Filipino seafarers in limbo between ship and home have been given board and lodgings at several centres in Manila, thanks to Seafarers’ Trust Covid grants.

Since the Manila was put under quarantine, thousands of seafarers have been housed at centres across the city. The centres acted quickly to protect residents – rigorous cleaning regimes were put in place, and centre staff have been living in, to minimise the risk of infection.

Trust funding has gone to several dormitories – at Scalabrini, Ermita and Pius – housing hundreds of seafarers from all over the Philippines. As well as accommodation and meals, free WiFi allows residents to stay in touch with family. Physical and emotional wellbeing are also catered for through exercise, activities and games.

Paulo Prigol, of the Stella Maris Scalabrini Centres said “The grant from Seafarers’ Trust has given us much hope. Now the 120 seafarers in our centres can have three meals a day and are guaranteed board and lodging. On behalf of all seafarers and their families, many thanks for supporting these seafarers in this time of crisis and uncertainty.”

A further grant went to ITF affiliate Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP). AMOSUP President Dr Conrad Oca says they are grateful for the grant, that has helped pay for food and accommodation for seafarers in its union-run dormitories Sailor’s Home and Mariner’s Home. AMOSUP itself is funding the provision of toiletries and medicines for residents.

“Many of our members here just disembarked before being caught in the quarantine and are desperate to return home to their loved ones. Others are hoping they can join a ship, and start earning again, once they’ve met requirements and new procedures are put in place. At least until then they’re safe and cared for, thanks to the funding we’ve had from the Trust” Dr Oca said.

Katie Higginbottom said “Seafarers have been at the sharp end of this crisis from day one. Over 1,200 are being looked after in centres and dormitories across Manila. These places have been an absolute lifeline – without them these seafarers would have been on the street. We’re so pleased our grants have helped the centres provide this vital support.”

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

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