Privacy and Cookies Policy

SeafarerHelp is operated by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). We respect the privacy of those who may be identified by the personal data we process and want to protect any personal information that you give to us.

This statement is made in order to comply with the provisions of the UK General Data Protection Regulation, (UK GDPR) the Data Protection Act 2018, (DPA) the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) (‘UK data protection law’) as well as any other legislation according the jurisdiction applicable to your location or the country in which your vessel is registered. For the purposes of the processing and our policy, ISWAN is a data controller.

How we collect information

We collect personal information about you when you contact us to ask for assistance or information or if you give us personal information in any other way. This may include but is not limited to:

  • When you apply to work with us
  • When you work for ISWAN
  • When you volunteer
  • When you call one of our helplines
  • When you request information from us by whatever means
  • When you visit our offices
  • When you correspond with us in the post

What information we collect

The types of personal information we might ask for depend upon the purpose we have identified to process your data. If you use our helplines services, this may include special category data.

How we use your information

Any information we collect, will be stored securely and treated in accordance with UK Data Protection Law or other appropriate data protection legislation.

The lawful grounds for processing your personal data

In order for us to lawfully process your data we must establish the lawful grounds for such activities. We typically use three of these which include:

  • Your consent: We may ask you to consent for us to process your data. Where this is the case, we will ensure you understand specifically what you are consenting to. We will only process your data for the purposes we have explained. If you with draw your consent we will delete all records of your personal data which were processed using your consent unless we have a legal obligation to retain them.
  • Our legitimate interest: We may process your data in our legitimate interests to achieve our aims and objectives to deliver support to seafarers around the world. This may be especially true when you use our helplines. Where we do not ask you to consent to process your data, we will process your data in your best interests and with your reasonable expectations. We may share your data if it is necessary and retain a record of the service, we provided you. You may object to such processing activities.
  • Legal Obligation: Where the law requires us to process your data we will be obliged to do so.

Third parties

ISWAN will not pass your personal details to other people or organisations without your consent unless there is a safeguarding or legal obligation to do so. Where data is shared, ISWAN will ensure that it has a suitable data sharing agreement, or it has established a lawful grounds for sharing the data.


Our helpline services are confidential; your situation will not be discussed or shared with anyone, outside of the helpline team, without getting your agreement first. However, if a service user advises that they or someone else is at serious risk of harm, we will share appropriate information where it is necessary in the best interests of those individuals. In such circumstances we will ensure an appropriate lawful ground for processing is maintained.

Where we are required by organisations that subscribe to our services to report the frequency of use of such services and other statistical information, we will in most cases anonymise the identity of the individuals concerned who may have used the helpline. We have no control of the way such organisations may process the reported information other than to state that such reports do not include personal data.

The ISWAN for Seafarers App

We provide access to our helpline services in different ways. To ensure you can reach the helpline from anywhere in the world, we also provide a native app, ISWAN for Seafarers, which can be downloaded on to any mobile device. The personal data processed when you use the app is processed in the same way as other data that may identify you. We use a third party to host the app and have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure they keep your data secure. The third-party provider may store your data in a third country. Where this is the case we ensure that appropriate measures are taken to uphold your rights in accordance with the applicable nations laws.

Our use of cookies

Cookies are small text markers stored on your computer that enable us to understand how people use our website. No personally identifiable information is stored on the cookies. In common with many similar websites, we use them to help remember preferences and for anonymous statistical measurements - for example so we know how many 'hits' a page has had.

We use cookies to:

  • remember certain information about users so they don’t have to repeatedly give the same information
  • recognise if users are already logged in to certain areas of the website
  • measure how people use our website so we can continually improve how information is provided

You can control and delete cookies

Even though ISWAN does not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you, you might still want to restrict or block cookies. You can do this through your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc). However, if you restrict cookies for the SeafarerHelp website then there is a risk the website will not work fully.

What cookies do we use?

These are the main reasons we use cookies on the website:

Google Analytics: This is a service we use from Google that collects information about how people use our website. We use this to make sure we are providing the best service we can to our web visitors.

Using cookies, Google Analytics stores information about:

  • what pages you visit
  • how long you stay on the page
  • how you came to the site
  • what things you click on

Although we collect this information we do not collect any personal information - so we don’t know what your name is or where you live. And the information we collect cannot be used to identify you. Also this information is for ISWAN’s use only and we don't allow Google to share it.

Content Management System

In a similar way to Google analytics the CMS also collects information about how many times a page has been visited and how many times a file is downloaded (things like the PDFs of our research reports and briefings).

Cookies that are set by other websites

Occasionally we embed things like video, audio and pictures from other websites such as such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr or SoundCloud. This means it looks like one of our webpages but the video is being fed through from another site (e.g. YouTube). This means that every time you visit one of our pages with this sort of embedded content, those other sites may use their own cookies to record that you watched or viewed the content. ISWAN has no control over these cookies so you should check the relevant website for more information.

How do we protect personal information?

We will make sure that any personal information that you give to us is kept secure, accurate and up to date using appropriate safeguards. We will only use your personal information for the purposes in which you have agreed for us to use it.

Data subjects’ rights

ISWAN is committed to upholding the data subject rights in accordance with UK Data Protection Law or any other applicable legislation. There rights include:

  • The right to be informed about the way the data will be used, and for what purpose
  • The right of access. ISWAN is committed to ensuring that you may access personal data that may identify you where possible
  • The right to restrict processing of your information if you are concerned about our activities
  • The right to rectify inaccuracies in your records
  • The right to have your data transferred to a similar service provider
  • The right to object to our processing of your data
  • The right to be forgotten where the law permits
  • The right to question automated decisions that may have been made about you

You have the right to ask for a copy of the information that we have about you. Also, if any information that we have about you is wrong, you can ask us to correct it for you.

Changes and Deletions

If your personal details change, please help us to keep those details up to date by telling us about any changes. If you want to see what information we have about you, need to tell us about any changes to the information that you have given to us, or wish to delete the information, then please contact:

The Data Protection Officer, The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), Suffolk House, George Street, Croydon, CR0 1PE


You may complain to the regulator who is responsible for information rights in the UK.

Please go to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website for further details:

However, you may need to direct your complaint to the relevant Supervisory Authority according to the country in which your vessel is registered. We may change this Privacy Statement at any time. Please regularly visit our site to view any amendments.

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