SIRF already awarded £245K, but more funds are urgently needed

The Seafarers International Relief Fund has already awarded £245K to partner charities to support seafarers and their families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine but more funds are urgently needed.

The Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) is appealing to the maritime industry to support seafarers and their families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine. The Fund has already raised over £220,000 , with pledges of a further £37,000, but much more is needed to provide basic human welfare – shelter, food, water, transport, access to medical services, along with practical financial help. Funds from SIRF are already supporting seafarers and their families through activities delivered by maritime charities, trade unions and other not for profit organisations working in various countries. The Fund ensures that the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and The Welfare Fund of Maritime Transport Workers Union, Ukraine, “MORTRANS” have funds to support seafarers with hardship grants.

TK Foundation, Ardmore Shipping and Chellaram Shipping HK are amongst those who have already generously donated to the new appeal.

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 many other NGOs/charities – urgent support was delivered in key seafaring communities.

'Since the initial shock of the invasion of Ukraine we have increased clarity on need. We are working with our charity partners to develop appropriate support. We are grateful to the maritime sector’s generosity, but an additional £250,000 is the minimum needed now to fund urgent initiatives to supplement the existing support. There is no doubt that need will grow over weeks and months and we will continue to seek further donations. The SIRF provides a central repository for funds, which are then applied for by partner charities. Our expert grant makers ensure the process from due diligence to payment of the award is turned around with care but swiftly given the emergency need.'

Catherine Spencer
Chief Executive at The Seafarers’ Charity and Chair of the SIRF Stakeholder Group

'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.

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 hardship 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. More information on the Fund and how to apply can be found here.

The Seafarers International Relief Fund is a collaboration of maritime NGOs/charities including Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, The Mission to Seafarers 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 those who are awarded funds meet stringent governance requirements, can deliver effectively and efforts are not duplicated.

Those in receipt of help have been extremely grateful for the support hardship funds from MORTRANS supported by SIRF have offered -

'We were forced to flee from Mariupol with our one-year old son in our arms. Thank you very much from my whole family for your help.” - Sergey Yanda, Second Officer at MSC.

'I would like to thank you for the financial support provided in these tough times! Thank you very much for your efficiency! Health and peace to all.' Anna Cherchel, wife of Third Engineer at V.Ships.

'We, the seafarers’ families who are forced to stay in occupied Kherson, especially appreciate your help. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!' - Denis Khomenko, Chief Engineer at Anglo-Eastern.

Donations can be made here.

100% of funds paid into the SIRF 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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