Norway-based Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) is crowdfunding to support maritime charity Mission to Seafarers (MtS), in addressing the hardships for seafarers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The initiative seeks to raise funds by employees, supporters, friends, and the wider industry. The charity will use these funds to further amplify their existing welfare programs.
These programs include provision of mental health support and food aid for the affected seafarers and families globally.
The move comes as the pandemic has caused major disruptions in crew changes globally. About 150,000 seafarers onboard are currently unable to sign off and another 150,000 onshore are unable to sign on.
This situation could not leave seafarers’ welfare unaffected. For those onboard, anxiety to get home can be overwhelming. For those onshore, the pressure to generate income can become overbearing.
This has triggered a global discussion with unions and international associations vowing to designate seafarers as key workers and ensure safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic.