Discounted hotel rooms offered to seafarers caught up in COVID-19 crisis

FabHotels open to accommodate seafarers with ISWAN. Credit: ISWAN

An Indian hotel chain has teamed up with UK charity organisation International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to provide discounted hotel room prices for seafarers seeking accommodation in India during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

To help ease the situation for seafarers looking for temporary accommodation, after signing off or awaiting sign on to a vessel, ISWAN is offering FabHotels hotel rooms to seafarers at reduced prices. Further, the shipping companies the seafarers are associated with will also share the financial burden.

Under the agreement, a portion of every room booking shall be contributed into the Seafarers Emergency Fund, which is supporting seafarers facing severe hardship worldwide by looking after their essential needs such as rent, meals, and medical treatment costs. Six hundred FabHotels hotels exist in 60 major business cities across India, and between them offer 11,500 rooms.

India is the second-largest supplier of seafarers globally after the Philippines. On 1 May 2020, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs announced that the current nationwide lockdown would be extended by further two weeks until 17 May. This will prolong the issues faced by Indian seafarers for much longer than originally anticipated. The initial lockdown was announced on 24 March, and under the lockdown rules, travel by air, rail, metro, and even inter-state movement by road are restricted.