Seafarers International Relief Fund launches urgent Ukraine crisis appeal to support seafarers and their families

The Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) has launched a new appeal to the maritime industry to support seafarers and their families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

TK Foundation have already generously donated $50,000 donation to the new appeal.

The SIRF is currently addressing basic human welfare – shelter, food, water, transport, access to medical services, along with practical financial help. Support for seafarers and their families will be funded by the SIRF and delivered by maritime charities, trade unions and other not for profit organisations working in various countries.

The SIRF was established in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Managed by The Seafarers’ Charity and supported by The Mission to Seafarers, ISWAN, Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, and other charities – urgent support was delivered in key seafaring communities.

'We were impressed by the immediate response from the maritime sector to the SIRF to provide relief from COVID-19. Funds were distributed very swiftly to alleviate need. More funds are now urgently needed to support seafarers and their families affected by the Ukraine Crisis. The maritime industry is impressive when it comes together to help their own, and we hope that it will once more generously donate to the SIRF.' - Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive, The Seafarers’ Charity and Chair of the SIRF Stakeholder group

Initial grants have been made to the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the welfare fund of the Ukrainian Marine Transport Workers Trade Union, Mortrans to provide immediate financial support to seafarers and their families impacted by the crisis.

'Our number one priority is the safety of our seafarers and their families. Ships and their crews in the area are under threat, while seafarers with families in Ukraine are rightly concerned. Ongoing conflict, violence and uncertainty are causing people to flee their homes and become separated from their families. In some areas, water, electricity, and phone connectivity have been affected with many people now unable to contact their loved ones at sea. I urge the maritime industry to give generously to this important cause and help our seafarers at this time of crisis.' - Guy Platten, Secretary General at International Chamber of Shipping

In addition to their existing and established delivery partners, The Seafarers' Charity and their delivery partners are establishing new contacts to deliver support on the ground in Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Moldova, and operations are expanding as more is understood about the need.

Small grants are already available to seafarers and their families who have been impacted by the Ukraine crisis and need immediate and urgent financial support through the Ukraine Crisis Support Fund, administered by ISWAN on behalf of the SIRF. Seafarer-centred organisations - including maritime welfare charities, maritime unions, port welfare committees, ship management companies and manning agents - must apply to the Ukraine Crisis Support Fund on the seafarer or their family’s behalf.

The Seafarers International Relief Fund is a collaboration of maritime charities including Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, The Mission to Seafarers, the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and ISWAN. The Fund complements existing work by charities and provides funds to appropriate new partners who can meet specific identified needs.

The Seafarers’ Charity provides robust governance to the Fund, ensuring that charities awarded funds meet stringent governance requirements, can deliver effectively and efforts are not duplicated.

100% of funds paid into the Seafarers International Relief Fund are used to support seafarers and their families in desperate need. The Fund is managed free of charge by The Seafarers’ Charity.

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