Urgent assistance needed for Indian seafarers and their families.

The Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) has been established by leading maritime welfare charities and shipping industry players to respond to the increasing and desperate needs of seafarers and their families resulting from the pandemic.

With the escalation of the emergency in India, a nation that is home to approximately 240,000 seafarers, the welfare charities and industry players felt an enhanced level of support and a speedy response was needed.

Despite suggestions that the crew change crisis was envisaged to be near its end, the escalation of COVID-19 cases in India to more than 400,000 per day has prompted some major ports to prohibit ship crew changes for seafarers with recent travel history to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There were also restrictions being placed by some countries on seafarers emanating from the Philippines.

This latest crisis, which has exacerbated the challenges that have come before, prompted this collective action.

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To-date SIRF has raised more than US$1.1m, all of which goes towards supporting seafarers and their families from the threat of COVID-19. The latest SIRF grants include funding for Stella Maris to provide food parcels to more than 1,000 seafaring families in Kochi, Kerala, plus funding for support workers to deliver post-COVID-19 medical care, counselling and therapy, including specialist care for children.

Although the COVID-19 situation in India is stabilising, many other parts of the world are suffering from further waves of infection, including other seafaring nations, such as Indonesia, South Africa and the Philippines. SIRF is looking at how it can extend its support to seafaring communities in other countries and aims to be responsive to the needs of seafarers wherever they are in the world, in line with the international remits of the charities involved.

SIRF wishes to express its sincere thanks for all the corporate and personal donations that have been received in recent weeks, including those from GasLog, ADNOC Logistics & Services, Bureau Veritas and Denholm Group.

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Grant funding

Initially, SIRF provided a charitable welfare response in India, and went on to support seafaring communities in other countries in order to be responsive to the needs of seafarers wherever they are in the world. The Fund is now closed to new grant applications.

The funded activity must be charitable in nature and can be provided by charities, social partners or other not-for-profit organisations.

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Ways to donate to the Fund

With its initial focus on the COVID-19 crisis in India, the Fund is now looking to support seafarers affected by the pandemic in other countries, but this relies on your help. Our SIRF Appeal remains open for donations and we continue to ask you to dig deep in support.

We continue to call on the industry to contribute to this Fund and help seafarers and their families affected by COVID-19 across the world.

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'The funds raised will continue to support our work in India, where thanks to our delivery partners, we have been able to respond rapidly to the needs of those at risk. However, the pandemic is far from over, and the situation remains bleak in many nations.' - Catherine Spencer, CEO, The Seafarers' Charity

Our impact

To-date SIRF has raised more than US$1.1 million in donations and pledges from key industry players, and corporate and individual supporters, all of which goes towards supporting increasing and desperate needs of seafarers and their families resulting from the pandemic. To find out more about the impact achieved to-date download the SIRF Impact Bulletin.

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The Seafarers International Relief Fund is being coordinated by The Seafarers’ Charity, a grant funder, and is supported by the maritime charities working alongside industry players. Funds raised will be distributed via the supporting charities listed below.

The Mission to Seafarers - Logo
International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network - Logo
Sailors' Society - Logo
International Christian Maritime Association - Logo
Stella Maris - Logo 2

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