Skip to main content

Maritime Charity Column: insights into the seafarers' welfare research network by MCG chair Tim Slingsby

7 February 2024

The Maritime Charities Group has been doing some forward planning. We've agreed a new strategy that focuses on three key themes: strengthen, connect and promote. But what does that mean in practice? Here are some examples for the coming year.


MCG is well known for its commitment to research, including major work on seafarer demographics. In 2024 we're commissioning a new piece of demographics research to help strengthen our understanding of the future welfare needs of the UK seafaring community and use it to plan our services. We are particularly interested in the impact of Covid-19 on seafarers and their dependants and how this will shape their needs in the coming decade. Look out for an event towards the end of the year where we will present the findings.

Another important element of our work is to share and promote best practice. This is particularly important when it comes to gathering data. All the maritime charities gather information about their users and the issues affecting them – but they all do it differently. The focus of our new Seafarers' Welfare Research Network, which connects academics, charities, regulators, policy makers, shipping companies and others, will explore how we can share what we know already and improve what we collect in the first place.

By promoting effective practice we are also enabling the maritime charities to build their resilience. We navigated our way through the pandemic, supporting seafarers in innovative and creative ways, but have we learned from that? At MCG we launched the redundancy retraining bursary; many of our members pumped extra money into targeted initiatives. and the wider maritime welfare sector pulled out the stops to meet the needs of seafarers and their families. The question for us now, is how can we use these experiences to build our resilience and so be better placed to meet the needs of our beneficiaries next time we hit a crisis? We'll be working with our partners in 2024 to address this important issue.

To find out more about MCG's work and that of our members go to or contact Ben Gibbons, MCG manager at

The Maritime Charity Column is a regular feature in the Nautilus Telegraph. Submissions are invited from a range of organisations by the Telegraph editor.


Become a Nautilus member today