The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) assists seafarers and their families and campaigns for greater rights for maritime workers.
Seafarers, who are responsible for transporting 80 percent of the world's goods, are often overlooked. With the fast turnaround of ships in ports, being on board for months at a time, reduced crew numbers and increased workloads, the lives of seafarers are often tough. Seafarers face long periods away from their family and friends with limited or no communication for weeks on end. Welfare facilities and services both onboard and ashore can be a lifeline for seafarers.
ISWAN offers a comprehensive support to help them cope with their long periods away from home and manage critical situations at sea. Among the most important initiatives offered by the organisation, there is a 24 hour/365 days multilingual helpline called SeafarerHelp to assist seafarers in any moment.
Moreover, ISWAN actively campaigns against non-registered crewing agencies that act illegally to recruit seafarers and works to promote equal employment opportunities for women in the maritime sector.
Thanks to its dedicated Relief Funds, ISWAN responds to crises and traumatic events faced by seafarers including maritime disasters, deaths at sea, accidents, piracy and armed robbery.
The Trafigura Foundation also supports ISWAN Regional Programme that provides humanitarian help to seafarers and their families in South-East Asia and West and Central Africa.
Special COVID-19 support
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed additional hardship on seafarers and their families. ISWAN had to intervene to provide welfare support in order to help them deal with the economic consequences of the crisis.
For instance, in the Philippines, ISWAN was able to relaunch the ISWAN Hardship Fund programme thanks to which 270 seafarers facing challenges resulting from the pandemic received financial support. In acknowledgement of its international work, ISWAN was bestowed with the SAFETY4SEA COVID-19 Resilience award.