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Seafarers Emergency Fund assists widow facing loss of family home

April 11, 2019
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When a seafarer or their family are involved in a sudden and unforeseen situation, they may require financial support. In cases where no other help is available, the Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) may be able to provide immediate, essential aid. Applications for the SEF have to be made on the seafarer’s behalf by a welfare organisation or trade union, and if the criteria are met, the organisation is provided with a grant to help the seafarer and/or their family.

The SeafarerHelp team received an application for the Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) from the Georgian Seafarers’ Union. The crew of a ship had not been paid and the captain was owed over USD 11,000. When he returned home, the captain became ill and needed an operation, which was undertaken 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.

The captain’s wife and daughter were living in extreme financial hardship. The captain’s wife had not been able to make any contact with the lawyer pursuing the unpaid wages, who was based in another country. The captain’s wife had travelled 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 the widow 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.

She went to the Georgian Seafarers’ Union who applied to the SEF for a grant of USD 5,000 so that she could pay the mortgage and keep her home. The SEF advisors approved the application and the family were able to stay in their home. The seafarer’s wife was very grateful for the SEF’s timely help during this stressful situation.

For details on how to apply to the Seafarers Emergency Fund, please click here. The Fund is provided by The TK Foundation, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the Trafigura Foundation and Seafarers UK, and is administered by ISWAN.

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