The unique service, which is part of the charity’s pioneering Wellness at Sea programme, runs alongside its existing seafarer helplines. Instead of waiting for crew to call a chaplain for help, Sailors’ Society chaplains agree with shipping companies to make regular contact with their ships, getting to know the seafarers on board and identifying any welfare issues early on.
Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s CEO, said: “We’ve had more than 130 calls to our helplines every month since the coronavirus crisis began, but in the macho maritime industry asking for help doesn’t often come naturally.
“Seafarers can be very distressed – and in some cases suicidal – by the time they call a helpline. Sadly, we have been made aware of cases where some crew haven’t reached out, with tragic consequences.
“With Ship Connect, our chaplains become a friend to seafarers through regular contact. That way, we can address any challenges they’re facing before they spiral out of control, and, if they are struggling, they are more likely to reach out to someone they know and trust.”
Seaspan, Dorian LPG and Fleet Management Service are among the companies who have signed up to this new service since it launched.
For companies wanting to further support their crews, Sailors’ Society has a multitude of crew welfare solutions available under Wellness at Sea, including a new, free 27-week Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign, and can develop bespoke packages to fit individual needs and budget.