Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) raised €1.4 million and assembled a team of 320 psychologists, mostly from Ukraine, to help traumatised families of seafarers who have been impacted by the war in Ukraine.
he package of measures, financed by the newly set-up Columbia and Clients Charitable Fund, will help to provide accommodation as well as professional psychological support, to traumatised seafarers and their families at designated ‘Columbia Sanctuaries’ in Poland and Romania.
What is more, Mental Health Support Solutions (MHSS) has gathered 320 psychologists which will be on hand to assist seafarer families suffering from the effects of the war in Ukraine.
More specifically, CSM has taken over a hotel in Romania and two villas in Poland which will act as safe harbours for families waiting to go through the Visa and immigration process. The families are welcome to stay for up to six months while their applications are processed.
We have set up these sanctuaries for six months, all fully paid for, and the families will receive food, accommodation and clothing. Then, via the work of MHSS, we are also able to provide the necessary psychological support
said Mark O’Neil, President and CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement.
CSM has also set up four meeting points, one in Russia, one in Ukraine, one in Poland and one in Romania for any families that may need food, clothing or accommodation.
These rendezvous points are there to thrust cash into the hands of those who need it and assistance is there to help get them through the asylum system. This rendezvous programme has been extended, via InterManager, to any seafarer families employed by other ship management companies on a reciprocal basis
Mr O’Neil added.
In addition, Charles Watkins, Clinical Psychologist and CEO of Mental Health Support Solutions, expressed his gratitude that the industry is recognising the importance of mental health. As he explained, “war torn families not only need financial aid but also psychological support because these normal and abnormal psychological reactions to traumatic events can impact for many years.”
Currently, over 1000 seafarers are stranded in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov on board foreign-flagged vessels with low levels of provisions, lack of drinking water and medical supplies. As already reported, an estimated 100 foreign-flagged vessels are caught in the direct line of hostilities amidst an imposed Russian blockade and reported sea mines.