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Viber added as seafarer assistance option

The free, confidential helpline for seafarers provided by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) can now be accessed using the instant messaging app Viber, expanding the range of contact options for international crews in need of support.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}In 2017, ISWAN's SeafarerHelp assisted 8,862 seafarers of 92 different nationalities with concerns such as family issues, unpaid wages, repatriation and health problems.

The helpline offers a range of contact methods including e-mail, telephone, Live Chat, Facebook and WhatsApp. Viber has been added to that list following feedback from seafarers, ISWAN says.

Viber claims to have approximately 900 million users worldwide, and uses a device’s internet connection to send messages and make calls, meaning that crews can avoid roaming fees on GSM services (though SeafarerHelp does provide a call-back service for seafarers without an internet connection that only have phone access).{/mprestriction}

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