Categories: BusinessPublished On: 25.06.2020680 words3.5 min read

COVID-19 Emergency Appeal

With thousands of seafarers working tirelessly on the frontline of the UK’s supply chain, we are appealing* to you today to help us support seafarers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are particularly dependent on our seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. In fact, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.

As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic, our seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping our nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions. In response to the crisis, the World Health Organisation has activated an international state of emergency with severe restrictions put in place at ports across the world, including the UK.

Seafarers working on merchant ships face a wide range of challenges and many are thousands of miles away from home.

There is an increasing number of reports of crews being abandoned in foreign ports, without money or food, and unable to fly home. Restrictions on crew changes and quarantine periods are separating many seafarers from their families for even longer, at what is already a distressing and unsettling time. Many ports on maritime trade routes now also prevent shore-leave, thus denying access to shore-based facilities, including welfare services, with crews being left unassisted on board and having to rely on charitable support or even local pity.

This is leaving many seafarers feeling very isolated, depressed and worried about their families back at home, and extremely anxious about when they can see their loved ones again. It has therefore never been more important for our seafarers to have somewhere to turn to for support.

With thousands of seafarers working tirelessly at the forefront of supporting our nation through this crisis, we are appealing to you today to help us support seafarers and their families during this global emergency.

How your support will help our key workers

Seafarers UK is a leading maritime charity which has been supporting seafarers since 1917. We work with charity partners across the sector providing essential support for seafarers in need and their families.

Advice and information services

Our funding supports essential services such as:

  • Seafarers Advice & Information Line (SAIL) to provide a free telephone service to seafarers on debt, housing, benefits, pensions, employment, and relationships and family issues
  • SeafarerHelp, provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), a 24/7 confidential,  multilingual and free helpline for seafarers of any nationality, religion, gender or sexuality, and their families

Port-welfare services

Where possible, our delivery partners continue to provide vital support for seafarers stranded in ports and cruise terminals. Seafarers’ Centres at Tilbury and DP World London Gateway London, managed by Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, are currently looking after 300 seafarers, who are not able to return home or join another ship.

Proactive support for the seafaring community

We are closely working with all of our expert charity partners to identify areas of need where our support will have the greatest impact at this time of crisis.

Your donation will help us give seafarers and their families somewhere to turn to for support at a time of crisis.

How to donate

Please note that due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19 on the way our charity operates, it currently takes 2-3 weeks for us to process your postal donations. We therefore encourage you to make donations online or by text.

Any donation, no matter how small, will make a real difference to seafarers in need and their families.


Donate online by visiting


  • SEAFARERSUK 3 to 70085 to donate £3
  • SEAFARERSUK 5 to 70085 to donate £5
  • SEAFARERSUK 10 to 70085 to donate £10
  • SEAFARERSUK 20 to 70085 to donate £20


Phone 020 7932 0000 quoting EMAPP20

*We understand this might be a financially difficult time for many of our supporters. We are therefore extremely grateful for any donation you can give, no matter how small, and we’re truly grateful for your ongoing support.