Shipowner groups, unions, and welfare organisations are pulling together in response to the devastating effects of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. One of the main concerns is for Filipino seafarers, who represent over 20% of the world’s seafarers, to be able to contact their families and loved ones back home. Already, the Mission to Seafarers and Sailors Society are providing free phone cards, sims, and wifi to Filipino seafarers who visit their centres all over the world. The Seafarers’ Emergency Fund, administered by ISWAN, is providing funds for seafarer centres around the world to facilitate free phone calls and wifi for Filipino seafarers to call back home.
ISWAN is helping to co-ordinate the response from organisations involved in seafarers’ welfare such as the International Shipping Federation/International Chamber of Shipping (ISF/ICS), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).
Among the initiatives already being implemented include :
The ITF affiliate Filipino union AMOSUP using their training ship, the Felix Oca, to transport humanitarian supplies provided by Norweigan shipowners and others to the affected areas
The shipping company MOL donating US$30, 000 to the relief effort
KVH’s Headland Media using their daily news bulletin, Newslink, to provide information on the typhoon and aftermath to their 100, 000 Filipino seafarer readers on board 10, 000 ships all over the world.
ISWAN is helping to share information and provide a service to seafarers, via theirSeafarerHelp (www.seafarerhelp.org) free helpline, who are concerned about their families back home in the Philippines. SeafarerHelp will have Tagalog speakers available.
Seafarer welfare organisations and missions have also put their chaplains and welfare workers on alert worldwide to cope with Filipino seafarers who receive tragic news while at sea or in port.
Companies wishing to donate to the Seafarers Emergency Fund to provide free communications for Filipino seafarers away from home should email email@example.com or phone +44 (0) 300 012 4279.
Individuals wishing to donate can do so via the Mission to Seafarers or Sailors Society.
The following online resources are available for organisations and seafarers who need further information :
People finder service via Google – http://google.org/personfinder/2013-yolanda/
Free telephone calls to landlines/mobiles from the Philippines with viber http://viber.com/typhoon
Reliable sources of news – http://mashable.com/2013/11/09/typhoon-haiyan-philippines-2/
Crisis map of the disaster – http://google.org/crisismap/a/gmail.com/TyphoonYolanda
Philippine Red Cross family tracing service – +63 (0)9179519711, + 63 (0)9154940415
The SeafarerHelp website is at www.seafarerhelp.org
Updated information will appear on the ISWAN website at www.seafarerswelfare.org
The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) was formerly the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare and the International Seafarers’ Assistance Network.