Launched in May 2021, it took only 3 months to surpass $1 million target
Seafarers and their families affected by the pandemic can look forward to financial assistance from the Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF), which has raised more than $1 million to date.
The community banded together
Catalysed by the COVID-19 devastation sweeping India, several seafarer welfare charities, including The Seafarers’ Charity, The Mission to Seafarers, ISWAN, Sailors’ Society and Stella Maris, as well as other shipping industry players, came together to explore ways to deliver urgent support to seafarers and their families. That led to the birth of SIRF in May 2021.
It has raised $1.17 million to be precise. Donors include Japanese shipping major NYK Line, in addition to many other personal and corporate donors, including most recently the TK Foundation.
The latest SIRF grants include funding for Stella Maris to provide food packages to more than 1,000 seafaring families in Kochi, Kerala, and funding for support workers to deliver post-COVID medical care, counselling, and therapy, plus specialist care for children. Stella Maris is the largest ship-visiting charity in the world. It has a global network of over 1,000 chaplains and volunteers in 334 ports across 59 countries.
Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity speaking on behalf of SIRF, expressed gratitude. “We are thrilled to have exceeded our target of US$1 million. This was an ambitious goal, one that reflected the catastrophic impact of the pandemic, particularly in India, where many seafaring communities have been badly affected through lost lives and severe health impacts, as well as the personal costs for the livelihoods of seafarers. This is a wonderful testament about shipping’s global community: all our donors, big and small, have mobilised in support of seafarers. Every dollar has helped to deliver urgent, life-saving support to those most in need.”
Spencer added the funds will continue to support their work in India, and facilitate swift response to those at risk. This included funding for oxygenators, COVID care kits, food aid and post pandemic support, as well as a vaccination drive for seafarers. The SIRF Fund is administered and overseen by The Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK), a grant funder with well-established governance mechanisms and processes for monitoring and evaluation to ensure efficiency and transparency. 100 per cent of the SIRF donations will help seafarers and their families affected by COVID-19.
Crewing Online News Team
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