The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has shared insights into the issues faced by seafarers and their families in 2022 with a new infographic of data from its helplines.
ISWAN operates several free, international, confidential helplines providing 24-hour help and support to seafarers and their families around the world. In 2022, ISWAN’s helpline services assisted over 13,600 seafarers and their families of 94 different nationalities, handling over 16,000 calls and messages.
The impact of the war in Ukraine was clearly reflected in the number of Ukrainian seafarers and their families who sought help from ISWAN’s helplines in 2022, which increased by 674 per cent compared to the previous year.
The Ukraine crisis, along with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the after-effects of Typhoon Rai in the Philippines, meant that many seafarers around the world experienced financial hardship in 2022. Contacts relating to financial difficulties more than doubled year-on-year on ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp helpline, mainly from those seeking financial support from the Ukraine Crisis Support Fund, a relief fund administered by ISWAN on behalf of the Seafarers International Relief Fund.
Abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination were reported much more frequently to ISWAN’s helplines in 2022 than the previous year. Contacts relating to these issues increased by over a quarter in 2022 generally, and on ISWAN’s helpline service for yacht crew, Yacht Crew Help, this number rose by 81 per cent. ISWAN highlighted abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination as an important area for attention on World Mental Health Day last October, and is working with partners from across the sector to develop a new project to address these important issues.
ISWAN plans to release insights from its helplines on a quarterly basis to provide the maritime industry with intelligence on global seafarer issues, in order to inform decision-making for positive change.