Seafarers Seaview_Summer 2021

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Your supporter magazine from The Seafarers’ Charity Summer 2021

The maritime sector unites to launch a new International Fund for seafarers affected by the pandemic page 6

Merchant Navy Day 2021

How to take part in this year’s fundraising event.

page 10


Seaview • Summer 2021

Become a virtual fundraiser

Get involved and support our Charity online!

page 9

Seafarers UK embarks on a new voyage as The Seafarers’ Charity page 3

Welcome from the CEO

A warm welcome

from Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, The Seafarers’ Charity Seafarers, whether of working age or in retirement, have faced supreme challenges over the past 18 months. I am extremely proud of the work we have been able to do, thanks to your donations, to ensure a complete package of support to seafarers at all stages of their life.

C AT H E R I N E S P E N C E R , Chief Executive Officer, The Seafarers’ Charity

The Seafarers’ Charity 8 Hatherley Street, London SW1P 2QT t 020 7932 0000 e w An audio version of Seaview is available. Please email or call 020 7932 0000 to request your copy.

Stay in touch The Seafarers’ Charity (Seafarers UK, formerly King George’s Fund for Sailors) is a Registered Charity, no. 226446 in England and Wales, incorporated under Royal Charter. Registered in Scotland, no. SC038191. Registered Office: 8 Hatherley Street, London SW1P 2QT. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen President: His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and Forfar KG, GCVO Chair of the General Council: Paul Butterworth LLB (Hons) MNI Chief Executive Officer: Catherine Spencer


Across the world, seafarers have worked relentlessly to keep our supplies moving, and many experienced the ‘crew-change’ issue of being unable to disembark or join their ship as a result of the pandemic. Many seafarers have been stuck at sea, months beyond their contracts, often in poor conditions, and with inadequate communications with family back at home. Our elderly seafarers, like many, have faced isolation and the fear of illness. The support we provide through our charity partners, and using the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, alongside our usual grant funding, has been vital in supporting people through the coronavirus crisis. Among the many different services we support, we have funded Mission to Seafarers, to provide online chaplaincy services, enabling a switch to digital ship-visiting when social distancing measures meant that face-to-face contact was curtailed. New grants have been made to Befrienders Worldwide, to offer vital help to those contemplating suicide, and Safer Waves, a discreet email service to support those experiencing sexual harassment or discrimination (page 5). Our impact team work diligently to understand the issues affecting seafarers and to create meaningful solutions. This has included working with the Commsave Credit Union to provide a range of affordable financial services for fishers, about which you can read on page 6, and the creation of the UK Maritime Anchor Fund which was launched to support working-age

Seaview • Summer 2021

merchant navy seafarers affected by debt, poor mental health, and relationship worries (Seaview Winter 20/21). The Fund is accessible through the Seafarers Advice and Information Line, a seafarer’s version of Citizen’s Advice, which also receives funding from The Seafarers’ Charity. Among support for older seafarers is our Seafarers Link telephone line, promoted to the Age UK network and the wider sector, to increase awareness and improve access to friendship groups. This wonderful service has been invaluable throughout the current crisis and has provided older seafarers with vital friendship and contact to combat loneliness. Finally, we’ve recently worked with the shipping industry to create a distinct Seafarers International Relief Fund to initially support seafarers in India affected by the recent wave of coronavirus. This is the first time many maritime charities have worked together to raise funds and will provide emergency support to seafarers and families facing desperately difficult circumstances (page 6). We are thankful that our loyal donors are aware of the hardships and difficulties of a seafaring life and choose to help through generous donations to The Seafarers’ Charity. With your help, we are ensuring that seafarers are well supported through a wide variety of initiatives.

Summer 2021 Latest news

A new voyage for the Charity

You may have read in the previous issue of Seaview that, to secure the strong future our seafarers deserve, we need to evolve, and in March 2021, Seafarers UK began a new voyage as The Seafarers’ Charity. Our new name reflects our global outlook, and the inclusion of the word ‘charity’ makes what we do, clearer. We’ve also reintroduced the use of ‘King George’s Fund for Sailors’ through a stamp, to celebrate our 104-year heritage.

The Seafarers’ Charity appoints two new trustees

Following an open recruitment process, in March 2021, The Seafarers’ Charity announced the appointment of two additional trustees to the Charity’s General Council, Nusrat Ghani, Member of Parliament, and Rear Admiral Iain Lower MA, AFNI.

Paul Butterworth, Chair of The Seafarers’ Charity’s General Council, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to welcome Nusrat Ghani and Iain Lower. Both are passionate advocates for all things maritime. Seafarer welfare is at the heart of such a critical sector and I very much look forward to working with them and all trustees and staff, over the years to come.’

Rear Admiral Iain Lower is the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff and the Royal Rear Admiral Iain Lower Navy’s Director for Strategy, International Relations, Maritime Sector, Parliamentary and Academic Engagement.

Nusrat Ghani MP is the MP for Wealden. She previously served in the Department Nusrat Ghani MP of Transport as Minister for High-Speed Rail, Buses, Taxis, Transport Accessibility and Maritime.

‘I spent my seagoing career working alongside the Merchant and Fishing fleets at home and overseas, and ashore, I have sought to build ever-closer relationships between the Royal Navy and the maritime sector.

‘Seafarers, fishers and their families are often overlooked for support, but The Seafarers’ Charity has been on their side since 1917.

The welfare of our seagoing community is very close to my heart and it is therefore a great privilege for me to serve you as a trustee.’

Nusrat Ghani MP

Rear Admiral Iain Lower

‘Much has been written since His Royal Highness Prince Philip’s passing in April about his devotion to our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, his sense of duty to the nation and to the Commonwealth, and his often ground-breaking innovation, be it on environmental issues, young people or technology.

Remembering our former President

It’s an honour to join the fantastic grassroots Charity to help seafarers, fishers, their families and communities.’

Of all his military honours and positions, he was, at heart, a seafarer. He served as President of our Charity from 1977 until 2011, and was an active supporter – and quite often a probing challenger – of our strategies and activities.

Always interested in others, keen to see things evolve, and delighting when things didn’t go to plan, he was a huge force for good in the maritime world. Seafarer welfare was close to his heart and he would not hold back in offering his suggestions, or opinions, to my predecessors. The Seafarers’ Charity – and others – are richer for his guidance and contributions. May he Rest in Peace.’

Paul Butterworth LLB (Hons) MNI Chair of the General Council, The Seafarers’ Charity

The magazine of The Seafarers’ Charity •


Our Impact

The impact of your donations In a typical year, our annual grants programme awards more than £2 million to support both core and project costs of many well-known maritime welfare charities. But 2020 was a year unlike any other – COVID-19, lockdowns and leaving the EU hurt seafarers in need in the UK and beyond. Reacting quickly, our trustees agreed a drawdown of an additional £2 million from our reserves to support the maritime community throughout the exceptional year, enabling the creation of our COVID-19 Emergency Fund.


Grants awarded



Organisations supported

Grants awarded from the Merchant Navy Fund


COVID-19 Emergency Fund

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund, using £2 million released from The Seafarers’ Charity’s reserves, saw grants awarded immediately to charity partners.

Main grants awarded by location in 2020 £3,568,373



A total of £3,568,373 in grant funding was injected into the maritime community by The Seafarers’ Charity to support the wellbeing and welfare of active and retired seafarers during this difficult year.

£200,000 supported the creation of the UK Maritime Anchor Fund to specifically help working-age merchant seafarers who had their employment affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, 78% of grants awarded were to support both UK and visiting international seafarers. 22% of grants awarded directly supported international work.

To-date, £1,567,193 of funds were distributed to more than 40 maritime welfare organisations to provide advice and support for individual seafarers devastated by the widespread coronavirus impacts.

What the Emergency Fund delivered: £1,067,193 was allocated to



1% 3%

International   England


Scotland 56%



Seaview • Summer 2021

the international merchant seafaring community.

£500,000 was allocated

specifically to support the needs of commercial fishers.

£432,807 is remaining in the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for distribution in 2021.


Supporting new online services for seafarers The Seafarers’ Charity awarded grants to Safer Waves and Befrienders Worldwide to fund new online support services for seafarers who have experienced sexual violence, and to help tackle poor mental health of seafarers at sea and ashore. Catherine Spencer, CEO of The Seafarers’ Charity, said: ‘We aim to be responsive to the needs of seafarers and our strategic approach aims to remove hardship and get to the root of problems through proactive and innovative work. We’re pleased to be working with these new partners to provide new and much-needed services to support the difficulties experienced by those who work at sea.’

Confidential email support for seafarers £4,000 was awarded to Safer Waves to fund a new confidential email support to merchant seafarers who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or gender discrimination onboard. The service has been developed following research which suggested that after experiencing harassment or assault, reported cases were badly mishandled and victims did not have access to appropriate support. The anonymous service will help seafarers process traumatic incidents, give coping strategies if they are still in an abusive situation, and reduce the impact of the incident.

Supporting seafarers unable to access shore-leave

£70,000 was awarded to the Sailors Society to provide immediate frontline health and wellbeing services for seafarers suffering from isolation, and deliver essential provisions to ports for seafarers who are unable to leave their ships. The project is delivered through the Chaplaincy and Port Outreach programme, based in four regional hubs operating from Dundee, Leith, Glasgow, and Invergordon, to support seafarers across Scotland.

New Help App tackles poor mental health Seafarers, because of the nature of their work, face particular challenges. Long tours of employment, separation from families, and living within a small community onboard, often with crews of different cultures and languages, can lead to a feeling of isolation. £16,500 was awarded to help fund Befrienders Worldwide’s new Help App with designated Help Centres in countries with strong links to shipping to provide support for seafarers in an emotional crisis or distress, and to reduce incidents of suicide.

Enhancing independence of older seafarers £51,800 was awarded to the Nautilus Welfare Fund to pilot a new casework support service in Wales to enhance independence of seafarers and their families, including Merchant Navy veterans, who are experiencing financial pressures. The caseworkers will aim to promote support available for mariners and their dependants, and provide practical assistance and active support in accessing help, as well as trying to reach ‘hidden mariners’ who have significant needs, but those who do not currently access any support services.

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The Seafarers’ Charity and Commsave Credit Union launch a new scheme for fishing families

The Seafarers’ Charity has awarded a grant of £40,000 to Commsave Credit Union to support the development of the Credit Union’s new services for the UK fishing community. The Fishing Without a Safety Net research, commissioned by the Charity in 2019, revealed how economic necessity drives fishers out to sea even when seas are at their most dangerous, highlighting the need of new interventions to create a better financial resilience for those in the industry. The COVID-19 pandemic and a new trading relationship with Europe post-Brexit, brought further challenges to the fishing sector in 2020. Commsave Credit Union’s members agreed to support the UK’s fishing community by extending the Credit Union’s affordable financial services to all fishers, fish processors and fishmongers throughout the UK, from 15 April. Amanda Ivey, Chief Executive of Commsave Credit Union, said: ‘We are proud to be able to offer our services to those working in the fishing industry. We have 30 years of experience in enabling members to access the financial services they need, and we look forward to welcoming new members from fishing communities all over the UK.’ Catherine Spencer, CEO of The Seafarers’ Charity, said: ‘Our partnership with Commsave Credit Union demonstrates our new approach to tackling need at source. We think this partnership is revolutionary, will provide a safety net and create financial resilience which will enable more fishing families to thrive.’

To learn more about Commsave Credit Union, visit


Seaview • Summer 2021

New Fund to help the international maritime community affected by COVID-19 The Seafarers’ Charity, alongside leading seafarer welfare charities and shipping industry players, has launched a united emergency relief Fund to support seafarers and their families internationally, who have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. In May 2021, despite suggestions that the crew change crisis was near its end, the escalation of coronavirus cases in India to more than 400,000 per day prompted major ports to prohibit crew changes for seafarers with travel history in affected areas. Speaking on behalf of the Seafarers International Relief Fund, Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity, said: ‘By joining forces with leading maritime charities, our aim is to send a clear message about the urgency of the crisis faced by seafarers globally, and to pool our resources to ensure that support can be delivered as quickly as possible.’

To-date, the Seafarers International Relief Fund awarded: £159,350 to the Sailors’ Society to distribute 5,000 COVID Care Kits to seafarers across ten ports in India to help find early signs of illness, and fund a medical helpline to provide support for those dealing with coronavirus.

£83,343 to Stella Maris to provide ten oxygenators and 1,100 food parcels, feeding a family of five for a month. Funding will also support post-COVID care via counselling and therapy. £125,000 to International Seafarers’ Welfare & Assistance Network to vaccinate 5,000 seafarers in 16 ports in India, and to provide financial and emotional support for 4,000 seafarers and their dependants.

To learn more about the Fund or to make a donation, visit

Latest Appeal

Your chance to help tackle the humanitarian and safety crisis raging at sea As we in the UK can see light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, a humanitarian and safety crisis continues to rage at sea. Seafarers, and in turn their loved ones, are collateral victims of the COVID-19 catastrophe as travel restrictions continue to leave hundreds of thousands of them stranded onboard or unable to join their ships. As the disaster for seafarers worsens, the emergency need for welfare support continues to grow and your support is more valuable now than ever before. It is difficult to imagine the levels of fatigue, isolation, anxiety, and mental stress faced by seafarers, with no clear end in sight. We hear stories of seafarers who have been at sea for 15, 18 and even 21 months continuously. Tragically, we are also aware of many suicides as hopelessness takes grip.

By supporting our Ocean of Difference Appeal, you can:

help ensure Seafarer Centres remain open, COVID-safe, ready to welcome and provide a safe haven for stressed and exhausted seafarers;

keep Advice and Information

helplines running, which are already dealing with the 300% increase in calls from seafarers desperate for help;

‘It is very hard. Twentyone months at sea. I cannot sleep, I miss my wife, my family, I haven’t met my daughter yet. I am stuck.’ – Luka

enable digital Befrienders

services to run and help seafarers wherever they may be;

fund enormously valuable Ship

Visitors and Chaplaincy services, which are especially needed when restrictions force the banning of shore visits.

There is no end in sight for the 200,000 stranded seafarers. If you haven’t yet had the chance to donate, please give as much as you can to our Ocean of Difference Appeal to help support all our brave, yet exhausted seafarers. Your gift will make the world of difference to seafarers and their families.

Please donate what you can by completing the donation form attached. You can also donate online at Please note that due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19 on the way our Charity operates, it currently takes 2–3 weeks to process your postal donations. We, therefore, encourage you to make donations online.

The magazine of The Seafarers’ Charity •


Fundraising Welcome

Catching up with Mark Ashley-Miller

In May 2019, Mark Ashley-Miller, helming his 34ft boat ‘Good Dog’, set out on an epic challenge to sail around Great Britain in support of The Seafarers’ Charity and to be the first person to visit all Harbour Masters in the UK. Mark has now sailed over 4,000 nautical miles, visited 130 harbours, and met with 110 Harbour Masters. Our Events & Fundraising Executive, Charlotte Ward, had a chat with him before he set sail again in May 2021. What has been the best part of your journey so far? Visiting St Kilda, the most remote island in the UK, where I promoted a Ministry of Defence worker to Harbour Master, must have been a highlight. What has surprised you the most? A few things have surprised me so far – how few boats and ships there are on the water when I am sailing, how magnificent the castles are in Wales, and how big an industry fish farming is in Scotland. Talking to fishermen, the destination of their catch – almost all to southern Europe or China. As I sail down the east coast of Scotland – the expansion of offshore wind farms.

Apart from the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, what has been the most challenging part of your journey? Ensuring Good Dog is safe for my crew. I am a very cautious sailor, so I take a ‘belt and braces’ approach to safety – avoiding bad weather, checking the tides carefully, and having several navigation systems onboard. What are you most looking forward to about your voyage this year? Entering the Thames will be a big milestone! I look forward to sailing under Tower Bridge in October, and sharing the adventure of this challenge with more new crew members. How long will the challenge take? 2021 is year three of a five-year challenge. But with everything to do with sailing – you never know how long a passage will take!

The Maritime Quiz

Last year, we saw a huge loss of income from cancelled events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we decided to get creative, and, on 28 January 2021, we held our first virtual Maritime Quiz. Hosted by Nusrat Ghani MP, and joined by an incredible 171 supporters, the Quiz put our maritime knowledge to the test, and raised over £2,000 for our Charity. The event was such a success that we held another virtual Quiz on 18 March, which Bob Sanguinetti,


CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, joined to co-host alongside Nusrat. If you’d like to test your knowledge and help raise much-needed funds to support seafarers affected by the pandemic, take part in the third instalment of the Quiz later this year. To register your interest, email

Seaview Seaview •• Summer Summer2021 2021

Mark Ashley-Miller meeting his 100th Harbour Master in Wick.

To follow Mark on his incredible journey, search for ‘Good Dog’ on any Marine Traffic App or stay up-to-date with the challenge on a dedicated Instagram account, harbourmastersailingchallenge, and help Mark reach his £10,000 fundraising target at HarbourMasterSailingChallenge


If you can’t wait for the next instalment of the Maritime Quiz, why not host a quiz with your friends and family to raise money in support of seafarers and their families in need? We have questions and answers available, so get in touch by emailing

Summer 2021 Fundraising

Now that the coronavirus restrictions are beginning to ease, we have places available in the following events. Join our team and you will be a recipient of The Seafarers’ Charity’s new running vests! Vitality Big Half Sunday 22 August 2021 Swim Serpentine Saturday 18 September 2021 London Marathon Sunday 3 October 2021 Virtual London Marathon Sunday 3 October 2021 Great South Run Sunday 17 October 2021 For more information about any of our events, please contact Charlotte Ward, Events & Fundraising Executive, at

Become a Virtual Supporter! Did you know that you could be supporting our Charity on social media?

Help support The Seafarers’ Charity every time you shop

Did you know that when you shop at your favourite stores online, the retailers could be making a donation to The Seafarers’ Charity, at no cost to you? Same products, same prices, same service – all you need to do is shop via the following official websites:

Amazon could be donating 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to our Charity, at no cost to you! All you need to do is visit:, select The Seafarers’ Charity from the charity options and shop with your Amazon account as usual.

easyfundraising is working with more than 4,000 well-known retailers to help generate muchneeded funds for charities. Visit uk/causes/theseafarerscharity to start your shopping!

Simply like our page on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn – whichever social media platform you prefer (or all of them!) – and share our content with your friends and family. By doing this, you will help spread the word of our mission and knowledge of the keyworkers who continue to keep us supplied by transporting over 90% of our goods. Connect with us online: Seafarers_KGFS SeafarersKGFS Seafarers-KGFS Seafarers_KGFS

Play our weekly lottery and

Just £1 to play!

each week and support seafarers in need and their families. causes/the-seafarers-charity/ causes/the-seafarers-charity

The magazine of The Seafarers’ Charity •


Merchant Navy Fund

Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day is The Seafarers’ Charity’s annual campaign to honour the brave men and women who kept the UK afloat during both World Wars and celebrate our dependence on modern-day merchant seafarers who are responsible for more than 90% of the UK’s imports. The COVID-19 pandemic had a tragic impact on Merchant Navy communities, and many continue to need urgent help. The Seafarers’ Charity is inviting everyone to Fly the Red Ensign to help raise vital funds to respond to the increased need for support. All funds raised will go towards the Merchant Navy Fund, a dedicated Fund to support UK merchant seafarers. The Fund is administered by The Seafarers’ Charity and supported by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.

If you don’t have a ‘Red Duster’, you can purchase one online from Hampshire Flag Company who have a variety of sizes and merchandise available, at:

To register to take part in the campaign, receive information on fundraising on the day, and a certificate of participation, visit: or email

HAVE YOU OR YOUR RELATIONS EVER SERVED IN THE MERCHANT NAVY? Please help us to help other UK serving and retired Merchant Navy seafarers and their families who are struggling in difficult times. The Merchant Navy Fund is an exciting and much-needed collaborative initiative by two national charities, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and The Seafarers’ Charity. Both organisations recognise that many people with a Merchant Navy background would like their donations to be used specifically in support of British Merchant Navy seafarers and their families.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Please consider making a regular donation of just £10 per month. We also welcome one-off donations. 020 7932 0000

TODAY WE NEED YOU TOMORROW YOU MAY NEED US SUPPORTING UK MERCHANT NAVY SEAFARERS AND THEIR FAMILIES WHEN THEY NEED A LIFELINE The Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK, King George’s Fund for Sailors) is a Registered Charity, No. 226446 in England and Wales, incorporated under Royal Charter. Registered in Scotland, No. SC038191. Registered Office: 8 Hatherley Street, LONDON SW1P 2QT.


Seaview • Summer 2021

In Memoriam

We’d like to thank the families and friends of those recently deceased, who have chosen to support The Seafarers’ Charity in their memory and for thinking of our Charity in such a special way. We would also like to thank those people who have chosen to make a quiet personal remembrance of a friend or relative anonymously. We may not have their names, but we acknowledge them all with honour and respect. Mr William Clelland

Rear Admiral Anthony J Monk RN CBE

Mr John Fisher

Lt Cdr Christopher Parry (Rtd)

Lady Kathleen Marie-Louise Nora Fitch

Captain David Perkins

Mr Roy Gravett Mr Robert William Hocken Mr Michael (Mike) Hurley

Mr Kenneth Perry Captain G Plummer Mr George Arthur Rowe

Mr Eric William Ivimey

Mr Ron Sandford

Mr E M L Latham Lieutenant Commander Norton Ralph Lee RNVR DSC Captain Alistair MacDonald RN

Mr Allan Smith Mr D Sworn Mrs Linda Worth

Donating or fundraising in memory of a loved one is a very special way to celebrate and honour their life while supporting seafarers in need and their families. If you want to find out how you can make a donation online, by post or by phone, or if you would like to set up an online tribute page, please contact Carole Hunt by emailing

We were saddened to hear the news that Mrs Aurora James, one of our much-loved supporters, had passed away in March 2021. Known to us as Irma, she corresponded regularly and supported The Seafarers’ Charity and the Merchant Navy Fund for many years.

Obituary for Mrs Aurora ‘Irma’ James 30 October 1941 – 31 March 2021

Irma was a regular attendee of our Annual Service for Seafarers, held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, as well as raising awareness of our Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day campaign each September. Mrs James was a pillar of her local community in Oxford, and was wellknown for her charity work. We are very honoured to have had her support.

Read Seaview online

Your supporter magazine from The Seafarers’ Charity Summer 2021

The maritime sector unites to launch a new International Fund for seafarers affected by the pandemic page 6

Merchant Navy Day 2021

How to take part in this year’s fundraising event.

page 10


Become a virtual fundraiser

Get involved and support our Charity online!

page 9

Seaview • Summer 2021

Registered Charity, no. 226446

Seafarers UK embarks on a new voyage as The Seafarers’ Charity page 3

If you’re reading a printed magazine, did you know that you could be receiving your copy of Seaview straight into your inbox, as soon as it becomes available? If you would like to receive your copy of future editions of Seaview by email, please contact Dolly Wartemberg at dolly.wartemberg@

The magazine of The Seafarers’ Charity •


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