Crisis responders from global maritime charity Sailors’ Society are appealing for funds to help them in their work with seafarers caught up in the Red Sea conflict.
In January, the Society launched a crisis appeal – the only appeal so far to highlight the hidden cost of the present crisis, the plight of seafarers travelling through the Red Sea as well as those diverted around the Horn of Africa.
Boet Van Schalkwyk is one of the global team of highly trained responders who have been speaking to seafarers as part of the organisation’s Ship Connect programme. The team is also reaching out to seafarers and their families through the helpline, Crisis Response Network and chaplaincy support.
“I have just finished a call with a crew who have just exited the Bab al Mandeb Strait. They were really stressed out and very worried about what was going to happen next,” he said.
“It’s the stress of not knowing that has really pushed up anxiety levels and affected everybody on the vessel. They have this picture in their mind of what could be and unfortunately to remove that is very difficult because it’s real, it could happen.”
Today, any seafarer in the Red Sea fears Houthi explosive drones and missiles. But diverting around the Horn of Africa past Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea brings the threat of a tropical cyclone or a piracy attack. It also lengthens the voyage and the crew’s painful wait to see those they love.
Boet urged people to give to appeal and said the work Sailors’ Society was doing was vital.
“We are talking about helping seafarers on board in real situations, real lifetime incidents and we are in contact with them.
“They’re all aware of the fact that we are on 24/7 standby – they know our numbers and they use them.”
Sailors’ Society is here around the clock, offering support to seafarers and their loved ones involved in any kind of trauma.
More information is available at sailors-society.org crisis-appeal
Donations can be made at: sailors-society.org/give