You are here

Coronavirus ‘worst crisis for seafarers in 200 years’: Sailors' Society

Coronavirus ‘worst crisis for seafarers in 200 years’: Sailors' Society
Anne Kalosh | Sep 09, 2020

Sailors’ Society said overwhelming numbers of seafarers have been seeking help from the charity since the coronavirus pandemic began.

'This is the worst crisis seafarers have faced since Sailors’ Society was founded more than 200 years ago,' CEO Sara Baade said. 'We are overwhelmed by the number of appeals for help and our crisis teams are having to prioritize the most desperate cases.'

A cruise ship waiter's story

Among the people the charity is helping is a waiter on a cruise ship who lost his job in March due to the pandemic. In the same month, his wife had a difficult birth with their son, leading to medical trauma for both mother and child. The seafarer contacted Sailors’ Society desperate for money to feed his family after spending all his savings on hospital bills.

Sailors’ Society said it has given out an average of 16 times more welfare grants to seafarers and their families every month since the crisis started, compared to last year. Many of these are as a direct result of seafarers being unable to work and suddenly plunged into poverty.
150 calls a month to coronavirus helpline

Sailors’ Society’s coronavirus helpline is also receiving around 150 calls from seafarers a month, many of whom are stranded at sea because of travel restrictions and struggling with exhaustion and anxiety about their families and finances.

The charity is appealing for funds to support seafarers at this difficult time. To donate, go to

Southampton, UK-based Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors have a presence in more than 90 global ports, with wider projects and services covering 30 countries.