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Seafarers' Emergency Fund Supports Widow Facing Loss of Family Home

Courtesy Iswan
Courtesy ISWAN

Published Sep 12, 2022 7:35 PM by ISWAN

When a seafarer or their family is involved in a sudden and unforeseen crisis, they may need urgent financial support. In cases where no other help is available, the Seafarers’ Emergency Fund (SEF), managed by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), can provide immediate, essential aid.

In one recent charitable case addressed by the SEF, the crew of a ship had not been paid and the captain was owed over $11,000. When he returned home to Georgia, the captain became ill and needed an operation, which he had in Tbilisi. The operation did not go well. The wages had still not been paid and there was a court case trying to secure them for the captain and crew.

Meanwhile, the captain’s wife, Mariam (name changed to protect privacy) and her daughter were living in extreme financial hardship. Mariam had not been able to make any contact with the lawyer pursuing the unpaid wages, who was based in another country. Mariam traveled to the hospital in Tbilisi to look after her husband, and due to the outstanding medical bills and debts for household expenses, she left her financial affairs in the hands of a lawyer in her home town.

Sadly, after some time the captain died. When Mariam returned home, she found that the lawyer had not managed things very well and had re-mortgaged her apartment. Even worse, the family was going to be evicted if she could not make the mortgage payment.

Mariam approached a local union who applied to the SEF for an emergency grant so that she could cover the mortgage payment and keep her home. The application was approved and the family were able to stay in their home. The SEF provided timely help for Mariam in this stressful situation after the loss of her husband, for which she was very grateful.

For more information about the Seafarers’ Emergency Fund and how to apply, please visit www.seafarerswelfare.org/relief-funds/seafarers-emergency-fund. A welfare organization must apply on behalf of the seafarer and/or their family. If you are a seafarer and you need help or support, you can contact ISWAN’s free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, SeafarerHelp, at any time. Call +44 20 7323 2737, e-mail help@seafarerhelp.org, or find more contact details and Live Chat at www.seafarerhelp.org.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.