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An Introduction to Seafarers Welfare

By Gabe Holton

Often deemed the "invisible workforce," seafarers are vital to sustainment of the global economy. Their jobs are hard, requiring grueling hours of work every day, all while they are away from their homes and families. Mental health problems have been connected to the ships, which act as both their home and place of work while at sea. Seafarers face isolation, loneliness, and job stress almost every day. Despite this, they keep the industry alive and running--the industry that accounts for more than 75 percent of the global trade industry.

"Without [seafarers] carrying on, through loneliness, home sickness, illness and uncertainty, the global supply chain would have ground to a total halt." (Katie Higginbottom)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many seafarers experienced new hardships that were unexpected. Loneliness, isolation, and time on the ship was greatly increased as quarantine was still present onboard the vessel. Many seafarers missions sought to help in vaccination distribution and relationship building, but the effects of the pandemic can still be seen with some long-lasting mental health effects. Time at sea is hard, and that hardship is only increased by forced isolation and sickness that causes more disconnect than ever before.

Another factor that unexpectedly affected the seafaring industry in recent times is the war in Ukraine. Ukrainians make up a large percentage of global seafarers, and some were onboard ships when Russia started attacking their borders. Moreover, those who were on ships when the first attack happened were unable to go home because of general displacement or fear of being attacked. We have spoken to many seafarers whose homes have been lost and whose families have been forced to retreat to other countries. Though we know the conflict is complicated and out of our mission's control, we can aid these Ukrainian seafarers through our prayer and friendship in these difficult times.

At Anchor House, we seek to serve these needs in any way we are able. At its core, our ministry For more information on resources to serve seafarers click here. Instead of our usual weekly devotional, I wanted to set aside time to consider the needs of the maritime industry and pray for the people involved in that workforce.

Prayers for the Maritime Industry

(If you want to read more about these prayers click here)

A Prayer for Seafarers: Lord God, we depend on you for life itself, and on seafarers to meet so many of our daily needs. Watch over all who go down to the sea in ships – on business, for leisure, or to rescue those in peril or difficulty. Keep them from danger, befriend them in loneliness, and bring them safely home to those they love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Prayer for the Shipping Industry: Almighty God, we pray for those involved in the shipping industry:for those who build, or own, or manage ships. Give them the will to care for those who go to sea, and grant to all who work at sea the blessing of safe ships, good food and just rewards for all their work; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Prayer for Seafarers Missions: Lord God, you show your love in providing for our needs through the service of seafarers. Bless the work of Anchor House and kindred societies, who minister to seafarers and their families throughout the world. Raise up supporters and workers that this ministry may grow according to your will, and that seafarers be blessed through loving care and service, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

A Prayer for Ukraine: God of peace and justice,

we pray for the people of Ukraine today.

We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.

We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,

that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.

We pray for those with power over war or peace,

for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.

Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,

that you would hold and protect them.

We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.


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