Supporting the well-being and welfare of active and retired seafarers.

Every year we award more than £2m in grants to support many maritime and welfare charities. But the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic brought exceptional hardship for many seafaring families.

We stepped up to the plate, awarding a total of £3,568,373 in grant funding in 2020 to support the wellbeing and welfare of active and retired seafarers during a difficult year, with 78% of grants awarded supporting both UK and visiting international seafarers, and 22% directly supporting international work.

In 2021, we awarded £2.9 million to 56 organisations and, working in collaboration with other leading maritime welfare charities and shipping industry players, launched Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) to respond to the increasing and desperate needs of seafarers and their families resulting from the pandemic. SIRF has since raised US$1,192,170, all of which goes towards supporting seafarers and their families from the threat of COVID-19.

In 2021, your donations helped us to:

  • Award 74 grants
  • Support 56 organisations
  • Award over £2.9m in total funding
  • Raise an additional US$1,192,170 in SIRF funding to support seafarers affected by COVID-19 across India

A total of £6m in grant funding was injected into the maritime community to support the wellbeing and welfare of active and retired seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of your support

Arvind’s ship was detained at a port in Russia for almost five months.

Arvind’s story outlines the challenges of being a seafarer during the COVID-19 pandemic - uncertainty over pay, long working days, and months at sea isolated from their families.

More details

Enabling digital service delivery during the COVID-19 crisis

£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.

More details

A lifeline to seafarers stranded onboard

An emergency grant of £29,500 was awarded to the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest to support its Seafarers’ Centre in Tilbury, providing essential frontline support to seafarers arriving at this busy port.

More details

A cruise ship head waiter repatriated home following a protracted stranding in London

Izad’s story hallmarks the enormous difficulties that coronavirus has brought to seafarers throughout the world.

More details
1 2

COVID-19 Emergency Fund

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the charity drew down an additional £2m from its own reserves to support the maritime community in these exceptional times.

The release of additional funds enabled the creation of our COVID-19 Emergency Fund to award financial support to many maritime charities providing advice, financial aid and welfare support to active seafarers. Examples include:

  • ISWAN received £80k to help with repatriation and abandonment of seafarers, as well as medical and other emergencies.
  • £250k provided match funding for a Rapid Response Grants Programme in partnership with the Fishmongers’ Company Charitable Trust enabling fishing businesses to diversify, with many transitioning to selling directly to consumers.
  • £10k awarded to Merchant Navy Welfare Board to provide MiFi units (portable WiFi) for use by port-based maritime welfare charities to enable seafarers to have WiFi access and connect with their families.
  • Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest received a grant of £29,500 to respond to the needs of seafarers from six cruise ships stranded in Tilbury as borders closed and visiting cruise companies discontinued their journeys.
See all grants awarded in 2020 and 2021

You may also like

Make a donation

Help support seafarers in need and their families, by making a single gift, or setting up a monthly donation.

Make a donation

Fundraise

Whether it is a run, a bake or a virtual challenge, your support will make an incredible difference to seafarers.

Get involved
wave-newsletter