Sailors' Society Launches Charity Coffee


By MarEx 2016-08-12 18:57:04

The maritime charity Sailors’ Society has launched a new coffee to help tell its story and diversify income.

BySea coffee is a commercial first for international charity Sailors’ Society – and 100 percent of profits from its sale go to supporting the charity’s work with seafarers and their families around the world.

Ethically sourced and socially responsible, the first two blends of coffee from India and Brazil were specifically chosen as the charity is expanding its work in these countries.

The society helps keep seafarers and loved ones in touch during the long months apart and liaises with families if a seafarer falls ill or is in trouble. It also builds storm-proof houses, medical centers and classrooms and provides educational grants.

In port, chaplains and volunteers visit crews on board ships offering everything from a friendly ear to transport into town. In the port of Kandla in India, the charity has also provided free ear and eye testing equipment for seafarers to access.

At sea, the charity’s Wellness at Sea training program and new Wellness App help equip seafarers for a life at sea focussing on five key areas of wellness, namely spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual and social wellbeing.

Sailors’ Society CEO, Stuart Rivers, said: “More than 90 percent of everything we own and use comes by sea, by seafarers who are typically away from home for nine to 12 months facing violent storms, loneliness and isolation and even piracy and terrorism. BySea, even just by the name, reminds us of the journey our coffee has made before it reaches our cup.

“Sailors’ Society will be 200 years old in 2018 and looking to the future we are finding ways of diversifying our income. Everyone needs coffee so this is a way every individual, office and church can help support the work we do, whether that’s helping a seafarer talk to loved ones back home or building classrooms for children in the Philippines. “BySea coffee is the just the start – more BySea products are planned.”

Support in Nigeria

In July, The 11 Indian crewmen of the MT Maro were released after being held for two years in Nigeria. The ship’s engine failed, and it drifted into a stretch of Nigerian waters. The ship, being used for bunkering, was arrested and accused of entering Nigerian waters without permission. 

Revd Boet van Schalkwyk, a chaplain for Sailors’ Society worked with the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board of Nigeria and were able to offer welfare support and counselling in September 2015. It was the first interaction the crew had had with the outside world since their arrest.

Boet, who also manages Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Centre for seafarers who have experienced trauma, kept in touch with the seafarers and their legal team. After a long-running trial the seafarers’ release was finally secured, and Sailors’ Society chaplains local to the seafarers will be available to offer support and welfare where required.

Support in India

The Sailors’ Society has been supporting the crew and families of the Seaman Guard Ohio during their imprisonment in India. The vessel was engaged in an anti-piracy operation in October 2013 when it sailed to Tuticorin, as it was running low on fuel. The men remain in prison at this time.

Manoj Joy, Sailors’ Society’s port chaplain in Chennai, has supported the imprisoned seafarers and their families throughout the ordeal and has been helped by Sailors’ Society’s regional superintendent, Joseph Chacko. The families are too poor to travel to see the men in jail, and Manoj acts as a link between the imprisoned crew and their loved ones.

Support in Indonesia

Sailors’ Society port chaplain, Muhartono Tito, is supporting a seafarer who was shot by terrorists earlier this year. Lambas Simanungkalit was working on board a tugboat when it was hijacked between Malaysian and Filipino waters. He was shot during the encounter with little hope of surviving his injuries. However, he continues to recover well.