The Mission To Seafarers

What are Seafarers?

A seafarer is defined as anyone who works onboard a seagoing shop.

Collectively, there are over 1.5 million seafarers across the world made up of various nationalities. These are men and women often spend up to 9 months at a time far away from their family, friends and loved ones. This can often lead to loneliness and mental health issues, with limited access to internet onboard ships.

Seafarers are responsible for transporting over 90% of the world’s goods and fuels, making them essential key workers who often go unrecognised by the general population.

Issues Faced by Seafarers

In addition to loneliness and mental health issues, many seafarers often endure money worries with the average Filipino seafarer sometimes supporting up to 15 extended family members at any time on their wage alone.

Seafaring remains one of the world’s most dangerous occupations, with piracy, shipwrecks and abandonment all adding to the problems that seafarers face in their line of work.

A lack of facilities available to seafarers often exacerbates these issues. In addition limited access to external communications on board, there are also a limited number of ships with exercise facilities on board, although this is improving as new ships are built, seafarers rely on Mission Port Chaplains to transport them to the nearest Seafarers Centre or local leisure facilities.

The Mission to Seafarers

The Mission to Seafarers is here to support the men and women working at sea when they need us most.

To compensate for the lack of facilities available, all our Seafarers Centres, spread across 50 countries, aim to provide Seafarers with:

  • Access to WiFi Internet and SIM cards
  • A comfortable place to rest and relex
  • The chance to get food and toiletries
  • Transport to shops and local amenities

And it’s not just practical support the Mission offers. We know that seafarers need emotional and frequently spiritual support too.

That’s why we have a large network of ordained Port Chaplains who come on board ships, giving seafarers a listening ear and offering prayer, if needed. They can also connect seafarers to other organisations, or speak to them on their behalf.

Our mission is to care for the shipping industry’s most important asset: its people.

Working in 200 ports and 50 countries

The Mission is open night and day, 365 days a year. We work in 200 ports across 50 countries, caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.

Throughout a long and distinguished history, The Mission to Seafarers has grown to become one of the largest sea port-based welfare operators in the world.

Our international Headquarters in London supports over 70 front line staff around and around 100 Honorary Chaplains. We also rely heavily on volunteers, who visit ships, drive minibuses and help us run our Seafarers Centres.

Without the help and support of our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to respond to as many Seafarers as we do.

  • 1836 – Our founder, John Ashley set up the Bristol Channel Mission having been struck by the difficulties faced by Seafarers

  • 1856 – The Mission to Seaman was created, bringing together several Anglican ministries in one organisation, including the Bristol Channel Mission. Our organisation then quickly grew in line with the growth of the British Maritime Empire

  • 1968 – We moved to St Michael Paternoster Royal in London, England. Our new headquarters was opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, on 19th December 1968

  • 2000 – We changed our name to the Mission to Seafarers

  • Today – The Mission to Seafarers now has a presence in 200 ports in 50 different countries worldwide. This makes us the largest sea port based welfare organisation on the world. We provide support to seafarers 365 days per year. regardless of their rank, nationality, gender or religion

To find out more visit –

This website is sponsored by the members of St Pauls’ & St Augustine’s Church

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