ICMA Seminar in Malmö explores partnerships for the future of maritime ministry

On September 6-7, ICMA members and partners gathered for a seminar exploring the future of maritime ministry partnerships in Malmö, Sweden.  The event was hosted by the Seamen’s Church in Malmö and received sponsorship from the Swedish Church Abroad.  More than 20 representatives of seafarers’ ministry societies from around the world were represented in the seminar.

On September 6, the seminar began with a presentation by Rev. Torkil Nilson on the work of the Sjömanskyrkan i Sverige (SiS), the Seamen’s Church in Sweden.  Commenting on the future of the work in Sweden, Rev. Nilson stated, “As I see it, the connection and the support by the local parishes is absolutely essential for the future of our seamen’s churches in Sweden. We still have an important calling. It started out as missionary work and that is also what it should be in the future.”

The next presentation that afternoon was by Rev. Dr. Paul Mooney outlining a project to write a history of ICMA for its 50th anniversary in 2019.  Dr. Mooney shared that ICMA’s place was unique in world mission, it showed an “unprecedented level of practical, ecumenical cooperation on a global scale.” Dr. Mooney encouraged any ICMA society with original documents relating to the history of ICMA to contact him.

Following further workshops on ICMA strategic vision, participants in the seminar were invited to visit the World Maritime University a short walk away.  There they were met by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU’s current president who was formerly the director of the section of the ILO that drafted the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.  It was encouraging to learn from her deep experience in seafarers’ rights.

The second day of the seminar continued the conversations of the first day.  We heard presentations from Mr. Andy Dakin, Executive Director of ICMA’s newest member, the Naval & Military Bible Society.  NMBS history stretches back into the 18th century in the UK.  Mr. Dakin shared ideas about new plans for specialized literature for seafarers that could be used by a wide variety of ICMA members.

Douglas Stevenson (Center for Seafarers Rights of SCI NY & NJ) and Ben Bailey (The Mission to Seafarers), chair of ICMA’s delegations to the ILO and IMO respectively, gave updates on the work of ICMA at these two important organisations. ICMA’s contributions in the discussions of these two organisations continues to be valued.

Finally, representatives of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Seamen’s and Fishermen’s Service Centre presented on their important work in the Port of Kaohsiung.  Elder Hsiu-Chin Shih Weng and Ms. Stacy Lai shared that they were looking forward to hosting the ICMA World Conference in October 2019 in Kaohsiung.

During the seminar, Rev. Heike Proske, the outgoing chair of ICMA, shared her vision for the future of maritime ministry: “When we look forward in maritime ministry, from the Christian point of view I see 1 Corinthians 13 – there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. Working together is one of the most important inputs for our vision – when we see what we are doing together, then there is no better motto than ‘We are stronger when we work together.’”

Bio: Jason Zuidema (Ph.D., McGill) is General Secretary of ICMA and Executive Director of NAMMA.

ICMA World Conference 2019

The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) is organising a World Conference in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, meeting from October 21-25, 2019.

ICMA is a free association of 29 charitable organisations working for the welfare of seafarers, fishers and their families. These organisations represent various Christian churches and communities that operate in more than 400 seafarers’ centres in more than 100 countries. ICMA was founded in 1969 to encourage collaboration and mutual assistance among seafarers’ ministry organisations. Such working together works at local level, in port, and at national and international level. In a fragmented and divided society, it is the mission of ICMA to promote unity, peace and tolerance. It is the duty of every ICMA chaplain and welfare worker to serve seafarers, fishers and their dependants regardless of nationality, religion, culture, gender or ethnic origin.

The 2019 World Conference theme is “50 Years of Working Together for Seafarers, Fishers and their Families”. We will have opportunity during the Conference to celebrate the 50 years of our common mission, but, more importantly, the Conference will focus on our present and future “Working Together.” We believe that we are stronger and seafarers are better served when we work in partnership with one another. For this reason, we welcome the presence and active participation in the Conference of partners from the maritime or fishing industries, government, labour, or other non-profit charities.

We are very pleased to be working together with our local hosts, The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Seamen’s / Fishermen’s Service Center, in the organisation of this Conference. The Conference will take place at the Ambassador Hotel (202 Minsheng 2nd Rd., Kaohsiung 80144, Taiwan).

For more information, please contact ICMA at gensec@icma.as

Introduction to Seafarers’ Welfare and Maritime Ministry – May-June 2018

Maritime ministries have undergone profound developments in the last generation. Those involved in seafarers’ welfare and ministry need to continue to develop professionally to help their work adapt to changing realities. This course gives an overview and discussion of key issues in seafarers’ welfare and maritime ministry. The course is designed for new chaplains, ship visitors and volunteers, but should also be useful for those who have experience in maritime ministry, but wish to sharpen their skills.

Course Director: Dr. Jason Zuidema, General Secretary, ICMA, gensec@icma.as


  • Online posted weekly online (5) – beginning April 25 online
  • In class one week Hamburg, Germany – May 27 – June 2, 2017 in class
  • Online posted weekly online (2)

Course Locations:

  • Dedicated course website link sent to students
  • Webinars (recorded on “Gotomeeting”)
  • In class – Conference room and excursions in Hamburg, Germany

Registration Cost: 450EUR

(includes 6 nights accommodation at DSM Krayenkamp Seafarers’ Hotel and meals May 27-June 2) **possibility of partial bursaries for travel costs, but not known until Spring 2018**

Course size: 25 students maximum


Seafarers’ Hotel Krayenkamp

Krayenkamp 5, 20459 Hamburg


Topics and lecturers: Dr. Jason Zuidema and various professors (international and local experts to be announced).

Readings: Short texts or recorded speeches given with each lesson.


ICMA Seminar Hamburg February 6

Meeting the Challenges of Seafarers’ Welfare: An ICMA Seminar

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Introduction: Those who wish to serve the needs of seafarers’ wellbeing and health are faced with increasing challenges.  This one-day seminar brought together leading experts from different sectors to discuss the challenges and best practice solutions.  Focus was on cargo shipping, and also on seafarers’ welfare on cruise ships.

Location: Finnische Seemannsmission in Norddeutschland
Ditmar-Koel-Straße 6, DE-20459 Hamburg

9:30 a.m. – Registration
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. – Session 1 – “Supporting Port Welfare
Welcome: Rev. Satu Oldendorff, Finnish Seamen’s Mission
Introduction: Rev. Heike Proske, Deutsche Seemannsmission, e.V.
– Runa Jörgens, German Ship Owner’s Association, presentation and video
– Dr. Jason Zuidema, ICMA, “Supporting Port Welfare” (powerpoint and text).
– Ulf Christiansen, ITF

10:45 a.m. – Coffee break

11:15 a.m – 12:00 p.m. – Session 2 – “Improving the health and wellbeing of seafarers and ship inspectors: A view from an occupational health physician”
Introduction: Rev’d Canon Andrew Wright, The Mission to Seafarers
Speaker: Dr. Clara Schlaich, Maritime Health

12 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Lunch

1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Session 2 – “Cruise Ship Crew Welfare”
Introduction: Fr. Bruno Ciceri, Apostleship of the Sea
– Tino Hensel, Carnival Maritime GmbH
– Markus Wichmann, Deutsche Seemannsmission, Hamburg, “Seafarers’ Lounge”
– Lesley Warrick, NAMMA/Seafarers’ House, Ft. Lauderdale

2:30 p.m. – Coffee break

2:45–3:30 p.m. – Session 3 – “Seafarers’ Welfare: Thinking Ahead of the Curve”
Introduction: Jason Zuidema, ICMA
Small group discussion

3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Closing Prayer in FSM Chapel
Liturgy leader: Rev. Matthias Ristau (liturgy and homily text)

4 p.m.  End of Seminar

For more information: gensec@icma.as

ICMA Hamburg Feb 2018

ITF Seafarers’ Trust launches Shore Leave app 3.0

posterThe ITF Seafarers’ Trust is excited to launch the new version of Shore Leave, an app designed for seafarers. This time all of the seafarers’ centres listed in the app can be involved, and it needs your help to make this successful.

The aim of the new version of Shore Leave is to encourage more seafarers to visit the centres you run and to have more fun using the app. To do so, the app has implemented a raffle system using QR codes. Each Seafarers’ Centre listed in the app is allocated a specific QR code for its centre/location. Seafarers that visit the centre will scan the QR code with the App and receive an electronic raffle ticket to take part in our raffle. Every 4 months the raffle winner will be selected from all of the entrants and a new raffle will start. The first winner will get an IPad.

The app implements a map system as well. Seafarers can either use the maps while they are online or download and use them offline. Seafarers will be able to post pins on the map about places of interest so that other seafarers using the app will see the recommendations from others that have already visited that particular port or city. They can pin down sport facilities, good bars, bus stop etc.

Moreover, the app added some customization options. It is now possible to upload a profile photo and keep track of carrier on board, adding the name of the ship seafarers are sailing with, ranks and where and when they sign on or off.

Shore Leave was first launched in 2014, the very first app specifically developed for seafarers. The idea was to collect seafarers’ centres contact details in an app, knowing that most seafarers cannot rely on an internet connection. The app, once downloaded, was and still is functioning offline. All the contacts are stored in seafarers’ phones and easily accessible at any time, so that they can always call for a bus to give them a ride to the seafarers’ centre, mall or nearby city.

Once again we hope that seafarers can get the most out of their Shore Leave.


ICMA Northern Europe Regional Conference, 9-12 October 2017 in Tallinn


The ICMA Northern Europe Regional conference took place in Tallinn, Estonia from October 9-12.  Hosted by the Estonian Seamen’s Mission in Muuga port, the meeting took place at the convention centre of the historic Bridgettine Convent in Pirita in the outskirts of Tallinn.

On the first evening we were welcomed at the Seamen’s Mission in Muuga.  Opening worship in the beautiful chapel was followed by a delicious dinner.  Thank you to Eeric Jõks, Natalia Trummer, Herki Talen, and the rest of the team for the warm welcome.

Conference speakers on the following days included Douglas Stevenson of SCI New York, Rev. Matthias Ristau, Rev. Wolfgang Pautz-Wilhelm, and ICMA General Secretary, Dr. Jason Zuidema.

Highlights of the program included an excursion for a refreshing nature hike in a protected Estonian bog, visit to an old manor house and restaurant for authentic local cuisine, and a visit to a one-of-a-kind private maritime museum and chapel in the historic ship-building town of Käsmu.

At the conclusion of the conference, Rev. Matthias Ristau was chosen as the new regional coordinator.  All expressed thanks to Rev. Wolfgang Pautz-Wilhelm, the outgoing regional coordinator, for having planned a lovely and useful program in Estonia.

Matthias Ristau encouraged all the participants to remain in contact with each other: “Remember that we are ICMA.  If we have events in our ports or news that could be of interest to each other, please let the others know.  It is good to stay in touch.”

ICMA General Secretary, Jason Zuidema, remarked that “this regional conference was a great opportunity for encouraging and networking.  When we are together we learn from each other and can do the work better in our own local ports.”

Participants and friends are encouraged to like and share the new regional Facebook page found at:  https://www.facebook.com/ICMANorthernEurope/



NSUK Nordiska Sjömans- och Utlandskyrkorådet – Council of Nordic Seamen’s Churches in Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway and Sweden

Uppsala, Sweden 9–10 June 2017

written by rev Jaakko Laasio, FSM

The Nordic council gathers every second year. This year it was hosted by the Church of Sweden and its international department, the Swedish Church abroad. Present were delegates from Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway and Sweden, in total 17 people.


The two day seminar started with two presentations of Christian Calling and Interreligious Dialogue. Formal meeting and members’ reports filled the other day. Sweden and Uppsala was in full summer bloom and all delegates could enjoy the atmosphere of the old university town just north-west of the capital Stockholm.

The Christian Calling leads to a Social Responsibility, was one of the theses of the Very Rev Pernilla Parenmalm from Torshälla, Sweden. She has written a study around the theme for clerical meetings in Church of Sweden. Revd. Parenmalm took us to a personal journey on Christian calling and what it means for each and one of us.1

Professor Mikael Kurkiala from University in Uppsala, Sweden enlightened his subject with personal experiences from various periods lived in a native American reservation in South Dakota, USA. He studied the culture in an anthropologist’s perspective, but as a “natural culture” religion is constantly present. We discussed the importance of understanding different religious languages and even meanings on expressions in relations to different cultural backgrounds. Both themes are familiar to international seafarers’ missions.

Day 1 ended in a delicious meal in a top-floor restaurant with view over all Uppsala. After a peaceful night, it was time to meet again.

Members’ reports were given by the delegates.

Denmark was this time represented by the Danish seamen’s mission and church abroad (DSUK). They have activities around the world in 53 locations of which 22 are in Danish speaking areas in Northern Germany. DSUK has two main tasks: 1. to serve the Danish speaking minority south of the Danish-German border 2. to work elsewhere in the world (with Danish people and seafarers)

Faroe Islands has a seamen’s mission with 36 years of existence. Today it is a church with no priest and no church, but with an administration and active volunteers. They do fundraising by volunteers and are able to serve Faroe seafarers abroad in Iceland, London (UK) and Esbjerg (DK). A growing group of Faroese students living abroad is demanding more attendance.


The Finnish Seamen’s Mission has worked with a renewed strategy now a year and a half. Service is given to seafarers and Finns abroad. The strategy includes also a plan for economic reform with a goal of no deficit by 2018. A deep cooperation with the Church of Finland continues especially on FSM stations abroad, but also with local parishes in Finland.

Earlier this year same sex marriage became legal in Finland, but not in the church of Finland. FSM reported that it made a bold statement to the church council urging it to change the church legislation. This statement raised positive reactions in the church and among Christian organizations working close to the church.

The Norwegian seamen’s church and church abroad, NSUK has recognised a new security situation in the world. It has connection with a new economic situation dictated especially of oil price, but also increased mobility of people. The organization is working for Norwegians abroad and seafarers. One of the challenges is to find right places to be. “Less cathedrals but more tents” is the line to follow now. With light constructions is easier to react on the movements of people. NSUK has worked with mobile chaplains for several years. They are totally 18 of which 10 serve on oil rigs at North sea, 5 for students around the world and 3 for Africa, Asia and South America.

Also NSUK launched a new strategy recently. It describes three signs of what it is to be NSUK: 1. close to life, 2. church searching for people and meeting them where they are, 3. caring for people

The Swedish Church abroad, SKUT is in the middle of a legal review of the whole organization. It has activities around the world and all stations are also local parishes connected to the diocese of Visby in Sweden. The structure is not compatible with local legislation in all countries and therefore a deep analysis is needed.

SKUT provided church and parish services for Swedes living abroad. The basics of the work are more or less the same than in other Nordic organizations.

Three other organizations belong to this group, but were not represented at the meeting: Indenlansk Sømandsmission (the Danish domestic seamen’s mission), the Seamen’s missions in Sweden and Finnish church abroad.

ICMA Annual General Meeting and Seminar, London, UK, Sept. 12-14, 2017

International Christian Maritime Association Active During London International Shipping Week


 London, 13 September 2017

The International Christian Maritime Association, the worldwide association of faith-based seafarers’ welfare providers, held its annual meeting and seminar in London this past week, coinciding with London International Shipping Week. Founded in 1969, the Association counts among its members seafarers’ welfare providers operating in more than 450 ports worldwide. Association member Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest hosted the meeting, which included the Port Welfare Partnership Project launch and seminar at Trinity House on September 13 in collaboration with the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB). Seminar topics included best practice on the formation and function of port welfare committees per the MLC, 2006 and the use of new technology for the provision of seafarers’ welfare.

At the meeting ICMA recognized the statutory end of term for Fr. Bruno Ciceri of the Apostleship of the Sea as Chair of the Board. The incoming Chair is Rev. Heike Proske, General Secretary of the Deutsche Seemannsmission. Commenting on this change, Rev. Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers and incoming Vice Chair of ICMA, offered thanks on behalf of ICMA to Fr. Bruno for “being passionate about ICMA and so committed to ecumenical work.” Wright said also that Rev. Proske “is ideal for leadership of the board – she has a deep ecumenical commitment, uncompromisingly believes in the ICMA project, and has a long experience with the Association.”

ICMA also announced a collaboration with the North American Maritime Ministry Association to bring on Dr. Jason Zuidema, Executive Director of NAMMA, as the General Secretary of ICMA. The arrangement will see Zuidema continue his role with NAMMA at two-thirds time, working with ICMA in the remaining third. Commenting on this arrangement, incoming Chair Rev. Proskesaid “we are pleased that NAMMA can work with us on this collaboration. We look forward to the next year of projects with Dr. Zuidema, including a renewed focus on professional development and networking.”

Zuidema brings with him experience in port chaplaincy and higher education in his native Montreal, Quebec, before becoming Executive Director of NAMMA in 2013. He has served as Vice Chair of the ICMA board since 2014. Addressing the board, Zuidema noted how pleased he was to work with ICMA at this time: “It is a privilege to serve as General Secretary of ICMA to help connect and encourage seafarers’ welfare across the globe. I welcome and encourage feedback and ideas on how ICMA can continue and improve service to its members.”

About ICMA: ICMA was founded in 1969 to encourage ecumenical collaboration and mutual assistance among faith-based seafarers’ welfare organisations. Such collaboration works at local level, in port, and at national and international level. In a fragmented and divided society, it is the mission of ICMA to promote unity, peace and tolerance. It is the duty of every ICMA chaplain and welfare worker to serve seafarers, fishers and their dependants regardless of nationality, religion, culture, gender or ethnic origin. www.icma.as


ICMA Western Europe Conference – May 10-12, 2017, Bremerhaven

ICMA Western Europe Conference 10th – 12th May 2017 Bremerhaven / Germany

Dear colleagues and friends!

Seamen’s missionary work lives and succeeds through networking cooperation of individual stations in different ports. Since 2008 we have not met in our region as the last coordinator gave up the post shortly after his election. The coordinator is normally elected only at the regional conference and because nobody could be found to organize the next conference, it has not been possible to elect a successor.

So now we have a Catch 22 situation: no coordinator, no conference – no conference, no coordinator.

In order to make a new start as ICMA partners in our region, we would like to invite you to Bremerhaven/ Germany from May 10th – 12th2017.

The main theme will be how we can make sure we can continue to hold our regional conferences and also stay in contact with each other.

In addition to this structural thinking and planning, we aim to encourage our partnership in ICMA, get to know each other again and share our experiences. After more than 8 long years, it really is time to meet again and we hope that you are all able to come to Bremerhaven to help reactivate the Western Europe Region of ICMA.

We will try to keep the costs of our meeting as low as possible. Nevertheless we have to ask for a participant contribution of 100 Euro per person. Accommodation and meals are included. The participating stations will be responsible for their own travelling expenses.

If anybody needs financial help please contact us beforehand.

To register please send an email to: christine.freytag@seemannsmission.org

Registrations must be received by March 3rd 2017. We look forward to seeing you in Bremerhaven! Your Organizing Team from the DSM

Antje Zeller Werner Gerke Matthias Ristau Christine Freytag


ICMA Ship Visitor App

How to get access to the ICMA Ship Visitor App


screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-10-35-59-am-2All ICMA members are able to use the Ship Visitor App and admin system provided to ICMA members by Sailors’ Society.

The Ship Visitor App and System have 2 levels of service as follows:

  • Ship Visitor V1.0 – Comprising the system as launched in January 2016
  • Ship Visitor V2.0 – The enhanced system


ICMA member organisations must now sign a software license agreement with Sailors’ Society regarding use of the system. This agreement replaces the one that ICMA signed on behalf of all of its members.

Please contact Paul Langham at Sailors’ Society plangham@sailors-society.org to arrange the signing of the agreement. He will need the correct legal name of your organisation and the version of the system you wish to use.


V1.0 of the system will cost $5 dollars per user per annum

V2.0 of the system will cost $2,000 per organisation and $50 per user per annum

You will be invoiced by Sailors’ Society once the agreement is signed, the invoice is for immediate payment.


Paul Langham acts as system super user and is contactable for help on using the system. Paul can also provide training. Sailors’ Society provide for Paul’s time but if you require him to visit your operation and deliver training travel expenses would be requested.

Enhancements and Updates

The V2.0 system will continue to be developed in conjunction with the user organisations, please contact Paul for more details.

Paul Langham
Ship Visitor App Administrator
+44 7971608446
Skype: abecketts