Upon hearing of the devastation ICMA members and chaplains continue to increased efforts to be present in centers and ports when a ship arrives. The ICMA Directory has been updated as information is received, and coordination of relief efforts began almost immediately.
The following items of information will be helpful to all ICMA members and centers.
1) ISWAN will coordinate the response effort and liaise with maritime medics, ministers, those on the ground etc. & will circulate links to resources & information – see below. They have a dedicated page to keep up-to-date information as received.
2) ICMA missions are encouraged, and most are, making free phone cards, internet, etc. available for Filipino seafarers to contact families. Mission to Seafarers, AoS, and Sailors’ Society were in communication immediately with their missions. ISWAN have secured grants to assist in the funding of free communication services for seafarers.
3) Chaplains around the world are mobilized to offer a friendly ear and to talk to concerned seafarers who are worried about family and friends. Seafarers are encouraged to call mission centers. Many shipping companies are making extra opportunities to allow seafarers the time to talk.
4) ICMA is coordinating the efforts of ICMA members.
5) All are asked to encourage seafarers who may need to talk about their concerns to contact either SeafarerHelp helpline 0080073232737 or to contact the various missions in the respective ports. ICMA is updating the directory when information is received.
RESOURCES AVALIABLE: The following online resources are available for organizations and seafarers who need further information :
More information will be posted as received.
The new regional coordinator for ICMA’s Northern Europe Region is the Rev. Wolfgang Pautz-Wilhelm. Wolfgang and his wife Verena run the German Seamen’s Mission in Maentyluoto/Finland.
ICMA chaplains from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Poland and Germany are holding their regional conference in Helsinki/Finland these days. Yesterday a theological reflectionof the work and an introduction to cruise ships and cruise ship ministry was on the agenda. Today the focus is on MLC 2006 and a visit to the port of Tallin in Estonia.
It became apparent once again that the members of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) benefit from our Association when individual members share expertise and publicly support one another’s goals.
Commodore David Dickens with Queen Elizabeth II
Commodore David Dickens (The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers), Alexander Campbell (Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest) and Reverend Hennie la Grange (outgoing general secretary of ICMA) met at the QVSR in East London on Friday.
From the meeting it was clear that funding was increasingly difficult to find. While funders have changed their funding priorities and have developed application procedures to ensure diligent grant giving, it has become tougher to get money for crucial services and emergency response. It was floated that, perhaps, the changing needs of the welfare sector have not been recognised or understood by our traditional supporters.
While funders were reluctant to support hostel-style accommodation in London, the QVSR boasted 99% occupation levels each year. QVSR’s longer term residents from maritime backgrounds tended to resist being re-housed in council-supported private accommodation, as they needed the maritime feel of the Rest and its sense of community. Years at sea have severed their links to onshore community life, and that is what the Seamen’s Rest is able to provide.
Similarly the Fisherman’s Mission has deepening concern for foreign seafarers working in fishing. Recent incidents of foreign sailors incarcerated for being in the UK illegally, abandoned here due to failed contracts (a recent case highlighted by AOS GB), and of families abroad left destitute after loss of a fisher’s life, strengthens the Fishers Mission’s resolve to use the ICMA network internationally to reach these families, and to roll out assistance to international seafarers.
The leaders of RNMDSF and QVSR came away from the meeting committed to helping one another in matters of faith and resolved to collaborate on matters ofmutual interest.
ICMA member the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) has announced the appointment of their new chaplain.
QVSR CEO and ICMA Regional co-ordinator Alex Campbell
QVSR CEO, Alexander Campbell, said in a statement to the ICMA Secretariat:
The Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest is delighted to announce that Reverend Hennie La Grange has accepted the appointment of QVSR Chaplain.
This post will greatly enhance the spiritual life at QVSR and will give both residents and staff the opportunity to explore their faith.
QVSR is the Seaman’s Mission of the Methodist Church (and a founder member of ICMA) and is celebrating its 170th year serving seafarers.
Alexander says ‘ we are delighted that Hennie has agreed to join the QVSR team, his experience and knowledge will be of great benefit to QVSR as we seek to help and support seafarers and others in need’.
The Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest is situated in the old Docklands area of East London, United Kingdom. It is the only surviving seafarers’ mission in Docklands. It is surrounded by the properties once used by other ICMA members to serve seafarers visiting London’s port in the time before the Docklands quays were abandoned and later redeveloped as a skyscraper city. The QVSR continues to provide accommodation for retired seafarers, and keeps up its ship visiting commitment (at Tilbury Dock and Thames Gateway) by employing, in partnership with the Deutsche Seemannsmission, Deacon Jörn Hille as port chaplain.
ICMA values the significant contributions of its smaller members to the wellbeing of seafarers. These smaller members tend to punch way above their weight. Alexander Campbell is the ICMA regional coordinator for UK and Ireland. To our smaller members, ICMA is the instrument that enables them to participate on a global scale in the improvement of seafarers’ lives. Together, the members of ICMA can do more.
The Reverend Jason Zuidema, the new Executive Director of ICMA member the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) took time our from a holiday in Europe to meet Father Bruno Ciceri and his team. Father Bruno is Head of Apostleship of the Sea International situated in the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People at the Holy See, Vatican, Rome. Ecumenical working was on the agenda.
NAMMA Notes reported that Zuidema also met Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Conuncil, then Mgr. Joseph Kalathiparambil, Secretary, and finally Antonio Maria Cardinal Veglio, President.
All of them strongly encouraged the work of ministries to seafarers and encouraged NAMMA in its work together. Fr. Ciceri was most encouraging and a delightful lunch companion. We had a long and in-depth conversation about strategic opportunities for AOS, ICMA, and NAMMA. Though much was just to get to know each other personally, there were a number of topics that we hope can be useful for common work in future conversations like those the participants will have our conference in August.
Jason was encouraged to see individual ministries and ministry orders thinking creatively and facing the hard questions we all face with humility and courage. Specifically, he thought about encouragement as we plan for the coming NAMMA conference. Know that we are not alone and that common work together is worth the work. Actually, Fr. Ciceri brought it home in a memorable way. He said, “if we bring nothing to the NAMMA or ICMA table, we will get nothing from the table.”
Mr. Koji Sekimizu, Secretary–General of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO), last week visited seafarers on ships at Tilbury in London. Mr. Sekimizu was joined by chaplains from ICMA’s members who operate in Tilbury.
The ship visitors spent time listening to the crew who shared their experiences of life at sea.
Mr. Sekimizu also heard from Deacon Paul Glock, port chaplain of the Apostleship of the Sea in Tilbury, how Paul supports seafarers from day to day.
ICMA’s members appreciate the Secretary General’s personal interest in seafarers and his understanding of the work that the faith-based missions do in ports to support seafarers.
Maritime charity, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), has spoken out on the way seafarers and fishermen are treated when they run into problems with their UK visas. These seafarers are never without the support of ICMA member, AoS Great Britain.
Recently four foreign fishermen, two Filipino and two Indonesian, were stranded in Newcastle, UK , when the fishing boat they were working on hit financial difficulties. The ‘Starward’ was impounded due to the owner’s financial troubles.
The crew had not been paid salaries since March. This meant that they were not able to send money back home to their families in Indonesia and the Philippines, with one crew member relating how his children were going hungry. As the crew were only contracted to work on this particular vessel they were not able to transfer to another. Also, as they were working on transit visas, the UK Border Agency had them arrested in mid-June and they were taken to a detention centre. They were subsequently transferred to a Heathrow detention centre where some of them remain.
Throughout this ordeal the crew have been helped and supported by the Apostleship of the Sea’s Tyne port chaplain, Paul Atkinson. Paul has provided practical and emotional support, working with the AoS national office to try to alleviate the men’s stress and ensure they are fairly treated.
Apostleship of the Sea National Director Martin Foley said,
‘The application of immigration rules to these men has taken no consideration of their circumstances. It is appalling that overseas fishing crews who are stranded in the UK through no fault of their own are treated like criminals and subjected to treatment that has demeaned and humiliated them.”
Pastor Dirk Demaeght, who works with fishers in Belgium, alerts us of the plight of fisher families in these times of economic downturn.
We must realize that, today, from a pastoral point of view, our fishery is bleeding! There are 7 vessels on the side because of financial difficulties. In some families the mountain of unpaid invoices is impossible to meet. The fuel prices continue to rise and fish prices fall because of a slowdown in the European fish market. In addition, the measures that the European Union has taken on discards make life even more difficult.
Fishers are stressed and discouraged.
Many young fishermen are leaving the industry. At the age of 35-40 years they wrestle with the question whether they still have a future to build in the fishing industry. To remain in fisheries, increases the possibility that they, at some point, will no longer be able to cope physically with the hard work. But on the other hand it is difficult for them to change careers knowing that they do not have skills valuable to the labour market.
We must pray that they continue to believe in their future as fishermen.
The Seamen’s Christian Friend Society, ICMA’s newest member, has offered its correspondence Bible studies to other members of the Association.
Martin Otto, author and port chaplain in the Port of Hamburg, Germany, wrote:
As new members of ICMA, we would like to find a way of making a positive contribution to our fellow members, over and above our cooperation at local level. [The] Bible correspondence courses [were] written by ourselves but we would be happy to make them available for other ICMA members to use free of charge and without the need for any copyright payments. These courses are not necessarily suitable for all seafarers, but they have been written in simple language with seafarers in mind. One attraction of these courses is that the seafarer is able to read them in the privacy of his own cabin without any pressure or undue influence from anyone else. We find that seafarers of many nationalities welcome the opportunity to investigate the Christian faith in this way and thousands of seafarers have completed this course in recent years.
“The Bridge” contains a basic outline of the Christian gospel. The student is provided with an answer sheet that can be sent to the distributing chaplain for marking. Some ICMA members might like to mark the answer sheets themselves – but SCFS is more than happy to see to this on their behalf if preferred. The Bridge is available in 24 languages. SCFS is able to supply ICMA members with a CD containing all these languages so that the courses may be printed off locally, as and when they are required for distribution.
Grace for the Weak
Grace for the Weak, another of the correspondence courses that SCFS are willing to share with ICMA members, is very useful for ship-based study in groups or in ship-based churches.
If any ICMA member would like to discuss the use of these courses they are welcome to contact Volker Lamaack in Hamburg, at firstname.lastname@example.org