Emergency fund launched for Ukrainian seafarers

Leading maritime charity launches emergency £5k sim card fund for Ukrainian seafarers

The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) has launched an emergency sim card fund of £5,000 to ensure Ukrainian seafarers can contact loved ones back home.

The fund, formed by the umbrella charity for the UK Merchant Navy and fishing fleets which supports charities that offer welfare support to seafarers and fishers, will cover the cost of sim cards and top-ups, as Russia’s invasion over Ukraine intensifies.

While some mobile networks are offering free calls to the Ukraine, this can only be done with a regularly topped-up sim card.

Charities, within the maritime sector that provide welfare support to seafarers and fishers, are eligible to apply for grants for a maximum of £250 to ensure money is evenly distributed.

It’s estimated there around 75,000 Ukrainian seafarers, with many thousands of miles from their beloved families.

Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive of the MNWB, said:

“Some of the stories we’ve heard from Ukrainian seafarers are absolutely heart-breaking. Many have seen their homes destroyed and their families flea to unknown locations – and the situation is only getting worse.

“Putting this fund together is the least we can do during this crisis. Hopefully, the phone calls made from seafarers, who could be thousands of miles from home, will offer some kind of reassurance. The welfare of them, and their families, is of upmost importance and we will work closely with our constituent charities to offer as much support as possible.”

Port Chaplains are encouraged to contact their respective MNWB PWC Manager to apply for funding.