Seafarers’ centre uniting those left stranded with messages from home during Covid-19 crisis

A seafarers’ centre in America is making sure maritime workers don’t miss out on communication from their loved ones during the Coronavirus crisis.

Seafarers’ House at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is redirecting mail and parcels for seafarers that were scheduled to be in their port, but because of Covid-19 restrictions were left stranded in other locations.

The centre has been able to offer this service thanks to a grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Emergency Covid-19 fund. The TK Foundation is also matching the grant.

As well as uniting seafarers with their messages and supplies from home, the team is delivering essentials like SIM cards, snacks and toiletries to cargo and cruise ships coming and going from Fort Lauderdale. They have also been able to offer essential support to seafarers stranded in hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, who have been taken off their vessels for medical reasons.

Lesley Warrick, Executive Director of Seafarers’ House said: “Worldwide, everyone is up against it at the moment but for seafarers this is a particularly isolating time. Being able to give them access to the supplies and messages from their families that are being sent from home really means a lot. For their mental health, for keeping morale up and for staying connected.

The seafarers who’ve found themselves stranded in hotels, some of them are really unwell and aren’t even able to leave their hotel rooms. The reaction to the support we’ve been able to give them has been overwhelmingly positive – not just from the seafarers themselves but from employers as well.

Our work has evolved rapidly with the situation and we are so thankful to ITF Seafarers’ Trust for providing us with the initial grant to support our efforts. We’re really proud to be able to do this and play our part in supporting seafarers through the crisis.”

Head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Katie Higginbottom added: “For centres like this the Covid-19 crisis has had a massive impact and to be able to help them keep going and keep providing the really crucial support that they do, well that’s exactly what the emergency fund was set up for.”

Read more here about the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Covid-19 Welfare fund

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