The challenges we face


Stretching resources further

We need to be where seafarers are and to go where seafarers go. With ever-changing shipping patterns, that means stretching our resources ever further in order to be there whenever and wherever the ships come in.  Trade routes constantly change and, with ships carrying over 90 per cent of the globe’s raw materials, commodities, and manufactured goods, the Mission must be agile to stay ahead of the fleet. Founded in 1856, we remain the world’s biggest provider of port-based welfare services. But although demand for our services has never been higher, we are stretched painfully thin.

Speaking up for vulnerable workers

Shipping is big business, and all too often the human element is neglected. Many modern seafarers are drawn from the poor labour supply countries like India, the Philippines, and Russia and they need someone to speak up for their rights and to look out for their welfare. Life as an ordinary deckhand or stoker means separation from family and home, long contracts, low wages, and harsh and dangerous working conditions. It is a shocking fact that the rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, and seafarers are 26 times more likely to be killed at work.

Supporting multinational crews

In today’s global market you might have a  Dutch-owned vessel, registered in Cyprus, with officers from Holland and a mixed crew from  Indonesia, Russia, Turkey and the Philippines.  It is easy to feel lost and lonely in such a hotchpotch of language, background and culture, easy to be exploited by the company, bullied by a bad captain or cold-shouldered by a crew.

Meeting a wide range of needs

Worries over unpaid wages, contract disputes, personal injuries, sickness, working hours, shore leave, abandonment, piracy and criminal charges are the grim reality for many seafarers – and they may have no-one to talk to about their problems, and no-one to help them. That’s where the Mission comes in. All around the world, we are a reliable presence which offers services as varied as the seafarers who call upon them –  and wherever they see our flag, they know they have come home.

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