£38,000 was awarded to The Mission to Seafarers to enable the provision of digital welfare support and services for seafarers and their families wishing to speak to a chaplain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project, led by The Mission to Seafarers in partnership with the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), offers remote support for ship-visiting teams, who are unable to provide face-to-face chaplaincy services due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Through the Chat to a Chaplain digital chaplaincy, The Mission to Seafarers is also able to respond to seafarers and their families across the globe 24/7, offering access services such as:

  • One-to-one counselling
  • Advice and signposting on issues relating to COVID-19, concerns over the extension of contract and repatriation
  • Family support and referral to The Mission to Seafarers Family Network in the Philippines and other countries
  • Spiritual services
  • Referral to a chaplain in the local area who may be able to arrange a gangway visit or other interaction via a local agent.

The Chat to a Chaplain service, launched on 20 April, has been operating 24/7 continuously. As of mid-June, the service has achieved 536 meaningful interactions with users and responded to 213 requests for assistance. Through the new service, four significant justice and welfare related cases were raised and supported. These included abandonment, a death, a lack of repatriation, as well as a missing seafarer on a fishing vessel.

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