Seafarers in Finland keep in touch during pandemic
Seafarers in Finland have continued to receive help, phonecards and supplies through lockdown from the Finnish Seamen’s Missions (Suomen MerimiesKirkko / FSM) thanks to a grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Emergency Covid fund.
Despite the closure of seafarers’ centres during lockdown, the FSM continued its ship-visiting, often meeting seafarers at the gangway and providing seafarers with practical support such as phonecards and shopping assistance. With no shore access for crews chaplains have been taking the crews’ shopping lists and delivering the supplies directly to the ships.
Since the easing of safety measures, the FSM gradually reopened its centres in Finland, although not all seafarers can have shore leave. However, the FSMs port chaplains have continued to support seafarers on board and when possible transported seafarers to seafarers centres or to town for shopping or just relaxing.
Revd Jaakko Laasio from the FSM said “We are very pleased we have been able to continue helping seafarers through these difficult times and especially that we have supported them to keep in touch with their loved ones when far from home” also noting “close cooperation with shipping agents and other port actors has been crucial in providing the best possible assistance for the seafarers.”
Head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust Katie Higginbottom said “Many seafarers have been at sea for a very long time due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. Help from organisations like The Finnish Seamen’s Mission to keep in contact with friends and family is vital.”