The Sailors Society, South Africa is offering virtual chaplaincy to seafarers as it suspends its ships’ visits as a result of the Corona virus.
Based on the declaration of the pandemic as a National State of Disaster in South Africa by the State President, and the additional measures taken by the Transnet National Ports Authority in South Africa regarding restriction on vessels and their crews calling on South African ports, Sailors’ Society SA is offering virtual chaplaincy to seafarers
It is vital that Chaplains still have ongoing contact with seafarers on board vessels but instead of visits they will be available online using Skype, telephone and social media to provide advice, support and arrange practical help for crews. It is necessary put the health of our staff and the crews we serve first.
The Society is sharing mental health advice for seafarers concerned about the impact of the virus on their health and livelihoods.
Rev Boet van Schalkwyk, Principal Chaplain and Co-ordinator Crisis Response Network, – “As this crisis has unfolded, we have been closely following health advice in the ports where we operate and offering virtual chaplaincy to quarantined seafarers
“In South Africa since 1877, we have supported seafarers in South Africa through many crises, the Corona virus being the latest, but our dedicated chaplaincy team will do whatever it takes to support them through the current crisis”.
In a message to the seafarers, he said “If you are a seafarer struggling at this time, you are not alone. We know this is a particularly distressing and unsettling time for many of you and we are still very much here for you, even if we can’t be with you physically”.
A special corona virus section of the Sailors’ Society website can be accessed at here with health information, advice for seafarers on how to manage their mental health in light of the pandemic.
Information is also available on www.saiss.co.za