News | 14 Apr 2022

Ukrainian seafarers to get 8,000 free Vodafone SIMs

Merchant sailors at UK ports will benefit from free connectivity to contact their loved ones and access support services.

Ukrainian merchant seafarers at UK ports will benefit from free Vodafone SIM cards. The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), a charity dedicated to the welfare of merchant seafarers and fishermen, will distribute up to 8,000 of the free SIMs to those in need.

Each SIM comes with 20GB of mobile data as well as unlimited UK texts and calls. Texts and calls to Ukrainian numbers are currently free of charge. The MNWB received the SIMs through the charities.connected programme, one of several initiatives from Vodafone designed to tackle digital exclusion.

Ukrainian seafarers not only face the challenge of keeping in touch with their friends and family still in Ukraine, but uncertainties of their profession amplified by the current war.

How Vodafone volunteers are helping Ukrainian refugees

Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s charitable arm, has been co-ordinating relief efforts in countries bordering Ukraine.

Chief Executive of MNWB Stuart Rivers said: “Sadly, the conflict doesn’t seem to be getting resolved anytime soon which is why we, as a leading maritime charity, have applied and successfully secured this number of SIM cards so those all-important phone, texts or video calls can be made.

“Hopefully, at the very least, this will offer some reassurance and comfort at a deeply distressing time.”

Emma Reynolds, Vodafone’s UK Head of Communications, Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, said: “We hope that by providing free connectivity to the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and the other amazing charities across the UK who have such an enormous impact on their local communities, we can help create a more inclusive digital society.”

Ukraine crisis: 'Connectivity is a lifeline' says Refugee Council

People seeking sanctuary from conflict, trauma and tragedy need help in several forms, says Vodafone partner, the Refugee Council, but access to news and information is crucial.

Vodafone is not only donating smartphones and connectivity to Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, but also doing the same at Ukraine’s western borders.

Charities registered in the UK can learn more about charities.connected and apply for SIMs on the Vodafone UK website.

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