The UK Government is allocating £2.4 million for projects to support seafarers' mental wellbeing and maritime projects developing green skills, diversity and ratings training.
Announced just ahead of the Day of the Seafarer on 25 June, the government says it has partnered with three organisations across the UK to deliver pilot projects to provide everyday support for seafarers' wellbeing and mental health – in particular projects supporting seafarers' wellbeing and maritime skills, diversity and careers.
It comes as UK Maritime Minister Robert Courts launches the new Maritime Recovery Route Map, setting out actions to help the sector recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Announcing the news at the Mersey Maritime Exchange in Liverpool, the Minister also outlined how the funding will support a review of training for ratings, including for roles such as deck, engine room, hospitality and catering in the maritime industry – to be carried out by the Maritime Skills Commission.
The £2.4 million will also go towards supporting green skills, alleviating seafarer mental health issues and progressing the Maritime 2050 ambition to widen the diversity of the sector.
The funding aims to support the maritime sector in creating a highly skilled, well supported workforce that people from all backgrounds want to join.
Mr Courts said: 'Seafarer wellbeing is at the heart of our Maritime 2050 agenda, and we know that mental health difficulties at sea affect thousands of seafarers. We are committed to tackling this, and building a diverse, highly skilled and exciting sector across the board – from shipbuilders to bosuns.
'This funding will help us tackle this problem by supporting the excellent work being done by charities and social organisations, and foster new programmes.’
The UK Maritime Recovery Route Map brings together the government's plans to help the sector recover from the impact of the pandemic with delivery of its Maritime 2050 strategy. Developed jointly with industry, the report follows the key Maritime 2050 themes, including how the UK will support 'our outstanding workforce, stay competitive and drive green growth by delivering innovation and new technology'.
Stuart Rivers, chief executive officer of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, said: 'This significant investment in the maritime charity sector is both timely and extremely welcome. The maritime charities sector has been supporting seafarers through multiple crises over the past two years, despite the difficult fundraising conditions. The Department for Transport's funding will provide a real boost to seafarers' welfare and enable improvements in skills and diversity for the wider sector.'