Emergency Funding for Developing World Seafarers

by Gavin Allwright in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 4th May 2020 we successfully raised £4,320 with 100 supporters in 28 days

We are raising funds to provide Emergency Support for developing world seafarers who have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic

by Gavin Allwright in London, England, United Kingdom

While much of the shipping industry take their responsibilities to their seafarers very seriously there is still a real challenge facing many seafarers from the poorer regions of the world.  Many are in lock down with casual contracts and unable to work, others are facing difficulties due to lock downs when they leave ships and are unable to return to their families with costs and little income coming in and there are even some reports of seafarers being shunned on their return to their homes for fears of the virus. There is also the issue of their families not having an income in order to get by.

The situation is likely to get far worse before it gets better.

Getting emergency help to these seafarers and their families will become even more imperative as the impact of the crisis is felt by small ship operators in those regions, with limited resources to support workers and as the pandemic expands in the developing world where financial and health resources are scarce.

“…We must also remember the hundreds of thousands of seafarers on ships. They are, unwittingly, on the front line of this global calamity. Their professionalism ensures that the goods we all need are delivered – safely and with minimal impact on our precious environment. These are people, usually far from home and family. Their own health and welfare is as important as that of anyone else.”

Extract from the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim 19 March statement addressing the effect of the corona virus pandemic on the shipping industry and the global supply chain. He stressed the vital need to maintain commerce by sea and protect seafarers' welfare in face of corona virus shut down.

See full ‘Tackling COVID-19 – a voyage together’ video https://youtu.be/JDu9yvQWhrY



All funds raised will go straight to the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), a UK registered charity, and dispersed through their Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF). Their membership includes seafarer associations throughout the developing world alongside shipping companies and shipping organisations.

ISWAN has agreed to ring-fence the donations from this campaign ensuring that 100% of all funds raised will be made available to developing world recipients and all administration costs will be covered by the charity.

The Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) is available to provide immediate, essential aid to seafarers and families of seafarers, who are directly involved in sudden or unforeseen crises. The fund may be needed to cover expenses such as psychological counselling, medical bills, repatriation and other unexpected costs. 


We call on the maritime industry, the business community and the general public who all depend on this vital industry to show their support for seafarers.

We are asking for your kind financial contribution, no matter how small, to go towards funding the Seafarers Emergency Fund.

This call goes out to

  • those working throughout the shipping and maritime industries to support their colleagues even further.
  • those working in the wider logistics chain that respect the dedication of the seafaring community that form a vital link in the chain. 
  • to the general public who depend on the goods delivered around the world!

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the most vulnerable developing world seafarers and their families at this time of real need!

ISWAN has just launched a new COVID 19 video, aimed at seafarers, with Dr Kate Thompson, a counselling psychologist. provides guidance and information on managing the mental health of seafarers during this Covid 19 pandemic. https://youtu.be/rB_Nyk0LRSo 


We are delighted to be supported by leading international maritime organisations including:


A picture containing water, man

Description automatically generated 

International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) www.seafarerswelfare.org

“We warmly welcome this initiative as we are receiving more and more calls from seafarers to our helpline SeafarerHelp. Many are from Filipino and Indian seafarers who lives are being adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. The funds raised will be used to assist seafarers and their families who are facing hardship because of the pandemic.”

Roger Harris, Executive Director, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network



World Ocean Council  www.oceancouncil.org

“The men and women working in shipping and the other ocean industries that make up the ocean economy are vital to all of us in this time of crisis. They are essential to ensuring that supply chains of food, medicine, energy and other goods keep operating. Please help support them as they are faced by the additional challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic is imposing on them.”  

 Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO, World Ocean Council


North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) www.namepa.net

“While the shipping industry is the engine of global trade, our mariners are its heartbeat.  Right now, they need our protection and help to navigate the constraints resulting from combating COVID-19.  

Remember, we are ONE Global community with the common goals of health, well-being, prosperity, and providing a global service in the best possible fashion.  Please join us in support of the mariner with a donation of any size!”  

Carleen Lyden Walker, Co-Founder/Executive Director, IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador

The Nautical Institute     www.nautinst.org

"The outbreak of COVID-19 on a global scale has brought fear and uncertainty to key workers around the world.  Those in the maritime sector have particular anxieties as they are displaced from home, friends, family and the other support mechanisms available to most.  It has never been more important for these seafarers to have access to help in some form. The Nautical Institute is pleased to lend its support to a crowd-funding initiative designed to help those most in need – seafarers from developing countries.  The fund will provide direct support to IWSAN’s Seafarers emergency fund helping to make a real difference to our mariners. Please support this initiative which will help support those most in need."

Captain John Lloyd, Chief Executive, The Nautical Institute.  RD FNI MBA CMMar

Green Marine   https://green-marine.org

“This is a much needed initiative in this time of crisis. As a global industry, we have a duty to show solidarity with seafarers, the men and women who are operating ships worldwide and who really are the backbone of global trade. Please consider supporting this campaign.”

David Bolduc, Executive Director, Green Marine

A picture containing drawing

Description automatically generated

International Windship Association (IWSA)  www.wind-ship.org

“In normal circumstances our 1.6 million+ seafarers are already a dedicated and very important group operating in often hazardous and challenging situations on the high seas to deliver 90% of the world’s trade. In this unprecedented situation, they are even more essential to keep food, medicines and other vital supply lines going, so we should step up and extend a helping hand to those facing adversity in these difficult times.”

Gavin Allwright, Secretary General, International Windship Association (IWSA) 



We are NOT competing with other funds or organisations providing support to seafarers. There is genuine needs out there that are not being met. These funds will help bolster those efforts. 


The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is a membership organisation which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world.

Seafarers bring us 95% of the things we use every day and take care of us when we travel by sea, but their lives are often tough. They experience long periods away from family and friends with limited or no communication, fast turnaround of ships in ports with severely restricted shore leave, reduced crew numbers and increased workloads. Welfare services and facilities both on board and ashore can be a lifeline for seafarers.

Our free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, is one of the direct welfare services we provide to seafarers. Others include our relief funds for seafarers and their family members in need and a range of health information resources.

We work with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations and ports for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. We support those who establish and provide welfare facilities and services in port and on ships.

We are funded by membership subscriptions, grants from foundations, sponsorship and earned income. We are grateful to our main funders – the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, The TK Foundation, Seafarers UK and Trafigura Foundation – for their continued support.



Campaign Coordinator: Gavin Allwright, Sustainability Consultant & Secretary General of the International Windship Association

I have worked on numerous sustainability projects over the past 20 years including programs to assist with the post Tsunami emergency relief in Japan, small scale shipping projects for the developing world and I hold a Masters degree in Sustainable Development and NGO management. I am currently the Secretary general of the International Windship Association (IWSA), a not-for-profit grouping of maritime wind propulsion companies and projects supported by academia, NGO’s and seafarers which is working to promote and facilitate the uptake of wind propulsion solutions in commercial shipping. I sit on the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCC) stakeholder’s advisory committee and serve as a non-executive board member on the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and as a guest lecturer at the World Maritime University (WMU). I also helped coordinate the Ambition 1.5C: Global Shipping’s Action Plan summit at UNFCCC COP23

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.