The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has joined forces with The Shipowners’ Club to launch a new app, ISWAN for Seafarers. Many seafarers often experience issues with internet connectivity at sea and expensive data packs can present a challenge for those on board. In addition, seafarers might not always know where to seek help or support if they are struggling or have a problem. ISWAN for Seafarers is a native app meaning it does not require an internet connection after the initial download (which has been minimised as much as possible to save on storage space). The app does not use data when open and seafarers can access support and resources at any time while at sea or ashore.
ISWAN for Seafarers provides seafarers with instant access to ISWAN’s free, confidential, international helplines SeafarerHelp (for all seafarers and their families) and Yacht Crew Help (for professional yacht crew) via different channels including telephone (with a call-back option), e-mail and Live Chat. Both helplines are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and ISWAN’s helpline officers speak several different languages including Filipino, Hindi and Russian. Whether a seafarer has a problem on board, a request for general information or simply needs to talk to someone after a tough day, they can do so at the touch of a button via the app.
The new app also provides a wealth of useful information and resources specifically for seafarers, including ISWAN’s Good Mental Health Guides and other self-help health materials, access to ISWAN’s Seafarer Centre Directory, and guidance on topics such as contract issues, abandonment, and bullying and harassment. Seafarers can also learn more about ISWAN’s Regional Programme which provides humanitarian support to seafarers and their families in South and Southeast Asia and West and Central Africa and connect with the regional teams via social media.
The app also features a blog containing recent articles from ISWAN’s website on seafarers’ welfare-related news and topics. Seafarers can catch up on the latest articles by refreshing the blog when they have an internet connection.
ISWAN’s chief executive officer Simon Grainge said: "We wanted to make it as easy as possible for seafarers to get access to our helpline and resources whenever they need them, day or night, at sea or ashore. We have been delighted to create this app with The Shipowners’ Club, who made it possible to bring this valuable resource for seafarers to life."
Louise Hall, director of loss prevention & corporate responsibility at the Shipowners’ Club commented: "We are proud to have worked with ISWAN on this new initiative to provide seafarers with a free tool that offers easy access to advice, guidance or assistance when needed. By providing this interactive and instantaneous service, we hope to assist seafarers in obtaining the support they, and their families, may need, in today’s challenging operating environment."
ISWAN for Seafarers is available to downloaded for free to mobile phones from Google Play (for Android devices) and the App Store (for iOS devices). Seafarers can find out more information about the app and share their feedback with ISWAN at www.seafarerswelfare.org/our-work/iswan-for-seafarers-app.