Stella Maris Kenya secures grant to help seafarers

Around 18,600 seafarers, fishers and their families will benefit from support in Kilindini Harbour in Mombasa; Lamu Port in Malindi; Homa Bay, the county with the largest share of Lake Victoria; and Lake Nakuru, Naivasha and Barringo in Nakuru after Stella Maris Kenya was awarded a substantial grant by The Seafarers’ Charity.  

This grant will enable Stella Maris to support seafarers across these areas through the local port chaplains and ship visitors. The main focus of this programme is to meet the pastoral and welfare needs of seafarers, regardless of nationality, belief or race. Thereby improving their mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing and quality of life. 

Stella Maris Kenya’s programmes also include access to training and educational programmes; counselling and psychosocial support for seafarers’ spouses; referral of crew and cases of abuse of seafarers to the appropriate Government Offices; growing our capacity and reach by increasing the number of port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers at each port and therefore the numbers of ships visited and seafarers helped.  

To date the work of Stella Maris in Kenya has largely been restricted to Mombasa. The team has recently grown from one port chaplain and three volunteers to a National Director and a team of more than twenty-seven port chaplains and ship visiting volunteers. By expanding their team, Stella Maris Kenya have grown their reach across both Mombasa and Lamu Port in Malindi, as well as Nakuru and Homa Bay. With the support of The Seafarers’ Charity, we are pleased to have the resource to support this expansion and drive their work forwards.

Margaret and her team have provided invaluable help to the Ra-Horakhty crew

Since September last year, Margaret Masibo, National Director of Stella Maris Kenya, and her team have provided invaluable support to the crew of the abandoned fishing vessel, FV Ra-Horakthty. When she first went onboard the crew had had no fresh food or water for several days and were starving to death. They had no money and could not disembark from the ship as they did not have papers to be in Kenya. Margaret supported them with a cooked meal; supplies of food and drink; and access to wi-fi so they could contact friends and family; as well as putting pressure on the shipping company to provide support, helping find legal representation for the men and liaising with the relevant embassies for them to go home. Tragically, abandonments such as this are becoming all too common. Support such as this is hugely important in helping to ensure that abandoned seafarers and fishers get the help they need, for as long as they need it. (Watch our webinar on Seafarer Abandonment in which Margaret was a panellist)

Margaret said, “We are grateful to The Seafarers’ Charity for their support of our work. This grant will make a huge difference to the lives of the seafarers and their families whom we help.  

Support from this grant will enable us to grow and solidify our national ship visiting and crew welfare programme across Mombasa, Malindi, Nakuru and Homa Bay, helping more than 18,600 seafarers and their family members throughout the year who are struggling with loneliness, exhaustion, bullying and exploitation. We will provide them with help when they need it most.

Without the support of The Seafarers’ Charity, we would not be able to be there for seafarers in need and we wish to thank them for their grant which helps make our work possible.”