Anglican agency assists with communications for Filipino seafarers

Posted Nov 13, 2013

[Mission to Seafarers] Anxious Filipino crewmen and women have converged on the world’s Mission to Seafarers’ centers over the weekend in the hope that they can quickly find out the situation at home, after Typhoon Yolanda is thought to have killed over 10,000 people this weekend. With about 364,000 Filipino seafarers crewing the global shipping fleet, they make up 28% of the total crew numbers.

In response The Mission to Seafarers, the global maritime welfare charity, has announced today that they have set up a new emergency communications fund, which will give free access to Wi-Fi and hand out phone cards to Filipino seafarers in our directly funded international centers.

Ken Peters, director of justice and welfare, said: “With so many Filipino crews around the world, we are very anxious to ensure that any crew member who needs to call home in an emergency can do so, regardless of the ability to pay. At the mission, we have offered an immediate bursary for 7 days, to MtS centers, to enable them to fund free calls home, either by connecting to Wi-Fi or to fund the distribution of free phone cards, SIMs or top up cards. We will monitor this situation closely but it comes in response to so many worried and distressed seafarers who are far from home and are desperate to get news quickly as they come ashore in port.”

Ben Humphries, mission chaplain in Mombasa, Kenya, said: “I have just been in the mission chapel with Loggan, a Filipino seafarer on the Bahamas registered cargo ship ‘Kumasi’ which docked in Mombasa earlier today, having crossed the Indian Ocean Piracy High risk area from the Maldives. Loggan came to the mission anxious for news of his wife and young children as they were enduring the typhoon following on closely from the earthquake of three weeks ago.

Loggan had been at sea for four weeks and was desperate for his ship to sail within range of the Kenyan phone networks so that he could get news of his family. After having spoken with them, and watched some videos of how his family had survived which his friends had posted onto his phone, he then wanted a few moments of quiet and to have his family prayed for.

Humphries said: “Clearly these are the stresses that seafarers have when they await news of their family in worrying times, and this is how The Mission to Seafarers can help. I am delighted we are now able to offer direct, practical communications services for free, in our key centers so that other seafarers can contact home quickly at this terrible time.”

The Mission to Seafarers

  • Founded in 1856, and entirely funded by voluntary donations, today’s Mission to Seafarers is a registered charity that offers emergency assistance, practical support, and a friendly welcome to crews visiting over 260 ports around the world in 71 countries.
  • Whether caring for victims of piracy or providing a lifeline to those stranded in foreign ports, we are there for the globe’s 1.3 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.
  • The Mission to Seafarers’ Patron is Her Majesty The Queen and our President is Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.