Supporting the provision of quality welfare for seafarers and their dependants



The Board creates, operates and administers numerous projects to benefit seafarers’ welfare. In doing so it helps its Constituent Member organisations provide important welfare services, promotes the work of its Port Welfare Committees and provides welfare services itself.

Click here to view our Project Archive

MNWB projects are run by a small team of experienced, qualified professionals utilising PRINCE2 methodology. Current projects are as follows:

UK Port Welfare MiFi Partnership Project

The MiFi pilot project funded by ITF Seafarers’ Trust (ITFST) was due to finish in May 2020, however, they kindly agreed to extend the project by a further 3 months to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July 2020, The Department of Transport, MNWB and The Seafarers' Charity agreed to fund a collaborative UK Port Welfare MiFi Partnership Project, managed by the MNWB. Launched on 28 July 2020, the aim of the project is to provide seafarers on ships visiting UK ports with access to free internet to connect with their families and friends.  

In turn, ultimately helping to improve port-based welfare services and, seafarers’ welfare and wellbeing, particularly during Covid19. Some but not all ships provide their crew members with access to good quality internet and our project will ensure that as many as possible have the opportunity to keep in contact with their loved ones during these difficult times.

MNWB is proud to coordinate this worthwhile partnership initiative and will continue to work in partnership with all the participating Maritime Welfare Charities who provide welfare visits to ships arriving in UK ports. In total there are 60 MiFi units deployed throughout the UK to the following MWC: Aberdeen Seafarers’ Centre, Fishermen’s Mission, Liverpool Seafarers’ Centre, Mission to Seafarers, Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, Sailors’ Society, Seamen’s Christian Friend Society and Stella Maris.

International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) Programme

The initial pilot project aimed to bring together key representatives of the maritime community with a view to developing and sustaining a ‘single point of contact’ or ‘central hub’ dedicated to the establishment, guidance and support of welfare boards across the world. Consequently, the pilot project also identified and assessed the operational effectiveness of existing welfare boards, helped establish minimum standards and promoted best practice.

The pilot project began with the launch of its website on Wednesday 4th February 2015 and ran for an initial 12 months, during which time 10 new welfare boards were set up across the globe. Following this success and a review of how best to fund the programme going forward, a further 3 year programme was launched in March 2017 to expand of the successful results achieved in the pilot project.

The IPWP programme is managed by the MNWB on behalf of the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) with funding from the MNWB, ITF Seafarers’ Trust, TK Foundation and The Seafarers' Charity.

Seafarer Support

Funded in partnership with fellow members of the Maritime Charities Funding Group, the Board created and now operates the Seafarer Support Helpline for the entire maritime charity sector (Merchant Navy, Royal Navy and fishing fleet). The referral service directs and where appropriate transfers applicants to welfare organisations best suited to help. MNWB trained staff welcome enquiries via telephone on a Freephone number 0800 121 4765 available between 09:30 - 16:30 Monday to Friday or via the website

In 2011, the Board transformed an ‘in house’ publication (formerly known as the Nautical Welfare Guide) into an online search facility called the Maritime Charities Welfare Guide .

The Guide is embedded into the Seafarer Support website to enhance the existing 'single point' of contact for the maritime charity sector. Individuals can search for assistance in a number of ways and be directly referred to the maritime charity best suited to help. It has an instructional video clip to assist with the search process and can facilitate a free 'call back' from MNWB staff during office hours.

Download a copy of the Seafarer Support leaflet.

Vehicle Replacement Programme

The maritime funding charities recognise the importance of seafarers’ centres and Port Chaplains having access to safe and reliable vehicles in order to deliver much needed port welfare services. As a result the now annual vehicle replacement project which started in 2008, has MNWB, ITF Seafarers’ Trust, The Seafarers' Charity and Trinity House jointly contributing substantial grants to help voluntary organisations purchase new vehicles. The project enables welfare personnel to undertake ship and home visits as well as transporting seafarers in and around the ports. The programme helps replace minibuses, MPVs and cars that remain essential to the provision of welfare services to our seafarers.

Aberdeen Seafarers' Centre – Sea Shed Digital Project

The Sea Shed Digital (SSD) Project promotes a safe, friendly and inclusive venue at the Aberdeen Seafarers' Centre (ASC) for retired seafarers to meet and share experiences, knowledge and resources around a focal IT group. The group had an initial launch in January 2018 and subsequently meets fortnightly for peer support and tab nabs. Those involved are encouraged to visit the seafarer centre daily, to take advantage of the free broadband and support provided by Revd. Drysdale, Port Chaplain and the Project Coordinator, Capt. Deeming. The support provided is initially focusing on using information technology to connect with friends, family, and the local community and will progress to banking, writing letters, sending email, shopping and storing photographs.

If you are a retired seafarer in the Aberdeen area and would be interested in more information about this project please email the Project Coordinator at or phone the ASC

Radio Interview

Audio clip courtesy of Howard Drysdale.

Lone Working Device Trial

Lone working means any work activity where you are isolated from other people. So, this could mean travelling as part of work activities, working at remote locations, or even working from home and can apply to employees as well as volunteers. After concerns raised by Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) constituent members with regards to lone working staff and volunteers involved with case worker and ship welfare visits; research was carried out into the lone working remit of organisations.

The project allowed members wishing to learn more about lone working devices/products to trial the latest inventions with their lone working staff and volunteers and have access to pricing for these products. Vital feedback was being collated from individuals who aided in the trial around functionality, user friendliness and ease of use (considering cost as well) of the products trialled. A report of the trial will be circulated to Constituent members in due course.

Port Levy Project

The Tyne Port Authority has worked in partnership with the Board and the Tyne Area PWC to establish a partnership port levy scheme. The scheme, entitled the Port of Tyne (PoT) welfare fund began raising funds in 2016 and was formally launched in September 2017. Whilst there are already numerous successful schemes working in other ports, the MNWB considers the levy to be an excellent example of a modern partnership scheme between shipowners, ports and welfare providers to support and improve seafarers’ welfare in port. Information on the PoT welfare fund and its MoU, which could be used as a template for other ports that do not benefit from an existing levy scheme, can be provided by the PWC Manager.

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