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Mission to Seafarers launches new flagship campaign

LONDON -The Mission to Seafarers today announced the launch of a new flagship campaign to address the severe welfare issues facing seafarers worldwide in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Flying Angel campaign is a top priority for the Mission as crews remain trapped on vessels owing to travel restrictions, subject to quarantine upon returning home, and unable to contact loved ones The Mission has targeted a funding total of £600,000 to deliver this programme which will have significant benefits to the entire industry.
The Mission to Seafarers has been assessing the needs of seafarers through the Seafarers Happiness Index, and the use of its recently launched digital support system ‘Chat to a Chaplain’. Although circumstances are evolving with some crew changes possible, it is clear that seafarers are still suffering, and their mental health and wellbeing will continue to be significantly impacted in the long term. In response, the Mission will be focusing on two main strands to offer support: resilience in ports and technological innovations to improve connectivity.
The  Mission’s port-based centre provisions are at the heart of the support provided to seafarers but Covid-19 has seriously undermined the ability to deliver that service. To improve the Mission’s ability to ensure continuity of care, the Flying Angel programme will provide PPE for all port teams to ensure frontline teams are protected. Additionally, to safely transport coronavirus-free seafarers and to keep them safe and healthy, vehicles will be adapted, including screens between the driver and passengers, plus provision of sanitizers and antiseptics. This has already been undertaken in Manila where the Mission has been called upon by the Government to transport seafarers to and from their homes.
The most urgent need is to prepare seafarer centres to receive seafarers in a safe and COVID-19 clear environment. This means that each of the 121 Flying Angel Centres needs to have a deep clean before opening, as well as screens fitted to protect staff and seafarers.
Advocacy remains at the heart of the Mission’s work and will also form part of the Flying Angel programme. Since COVID-19, the charity has been working in partnership, to make the case for seafarers across the world, with those that can make a difference both internationally and locally. In particular, the Mission has focused on recognition for seafarers as essential workers, the facilitation of crew change and proper protection for safety and well-being.