International Seafarers’ Centre The Bridge; location Oostvoorne open!

Friday, October 7th, the International Seafarers’ Centre, location Oostvoorne (ISC-LCO) has been opened with great interest.

(Read full story with photos here.)

Invitees at reception
The official opening: Mrs. Gruisen, René de Vries, Bernt de Koning, and Paméla Blok–van Werkhoven.

Numerous invitees gathered at the end of the afternoon at Cultural Centre ‘De Man’ to attend the opening of the brand new seafarers’ centre. In this townhouse the foundation has a foyer and their own room at their disposal. There is also a separate entrance to several rooms that can be rented for receptions and other activities.
Guests can use the non-commercial bar, the kitchenette, Wi-Fi and the parking. The last few weeks we have worked hard to furnish the basement of the building. With the collaboration of amongst others the town of Westvoorne, the contractor, the subcontractors and the suppliers we succeeded to get the centre ready for the official opening. The seafarers centre has their own bus – a donation of the foundation ‘Stichting Welzijn Zeevarenden Rotterdam’ – to transport the seafarers from and to the harbour.
The foundation of The Bridge has been made possible by the initiator Bernt de Koning, who as chairman of the foundation International Seafarers´Centre LCO, has spent the last four years to realize the seafarers’ centre. Thanks to the support during the start up phase of the Rotterdam Port Welfare Committee, port Authority of Rotterdam, town of Westvoorne and a group of different financiers he finally succeeded.
Last year a seafarers’ centre opened in Brielle, under the Danish flag, and together with the Flying Angels Club in Schiedam, we now have three centres to welcome the seafarers in and around the harbour of Rotterdam.
The opening ceremony took place at Cultural Centre De man. Mrs. Annie Gruisen, secretary of ISC-LCO, invited several speakers: Bernt de Koning who shortly told us about the history and foundation of the ISC-LCO; then alderman Mrs. Paméla Blok–van Werkhoven, harbour master of Rotterdam René de Vries, and chairman of the NZC, Mr. Hans Kapteijn.
With the exchange of several gifts and the making of a knot in an old fashioned hemp rope, the opening of the ISC-LCO was formally conducted.
Searching for volunteers. Since three weeks Edwin van Os together with 22 volunteers is managing The Bridge during 3 days a week. In these three weeks we have already welcomed 170 visitors. The target audience are the seafarers of ships that are in the harbour with an average of 55 hours; mainly bulk carriers and tank ships. The last few days people from several countries have visited us, including China, the Philippines, India, Georgia, Russia, Germany and Poland. They are all amazed when they enter our beautiful village Oostvoorne; so quiet and peaceful and all these nice people and houses! ‘Where is the super market and till what time can we go shopping?’ The first remarks and questions of the seafarers who sometimes didn’t see anything else for weeks then the horizon, the waves and a remote loading dock in Brazil.
To have the seafarers’ centre opened 7 days a week, instead of the 3 days now, we need about 40 volunteers, who all help out once a week from 16:00 till 22:00 hours. Volunteers who are interested in accompanying the seafarers are invited to contact the LCO Foundation, phone nr: 06-32274725.

For transport check out the website : or phone 0031-32274725

AHOY Course Manila

Photos of the course are available here.
A full copy of the program is available here.

Monday, 26th
– Philippines Port Authority
AOS Bishop Promoter of the Philippines – H.E. Bishop Narciso Villaver Abellana
Scalabrini International Migration Network – Fr. Mario Zambiasi
– Filipino History – Dr. Ricardo T. Jose
Filipino values and culture – Prof. Stella P. Go
– ICMA in the Filippines – AOS-Philippines, Mission to Seafarers, Sailors’ Society
Young Filipino men securing work and the future through ‘utility manning’ – Dr. Roderick Galam
Health and self-medication practices of Filipino seafarers – Dr. Nelson Turgo

Tuesday, 27th
– Filipino Catholic religiosity and beliefs (part 1 and part 2) – Fr. Mario Dominic C. Sanchez
– Other Filipino Churches / Faith Denominations – Dr. Manuel Victor J. Sapitula
– Overseas Filipino Workers – Romulo V. Salud

Wednesday, 28th
– Philippines: people of the sea – Fr. Graziano Battistella
Ecumenism in the maritime world – H.E. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
– ICMA Sessions
i. Stuart Rivers (Sailors’ Society) – “Disruptive Technology and A Vision for the Future of Maritime Ministry”
ii. Lance Lukin (MTS Regional Director Oceania Region/Wellington Port Chaplain & Seafarer Centre Manager) – “Support for Chaplaincy: Learning from other Chaplain Networks”
iii. Jason Zuidema (NAMMA) – “ICMA and Future of Maritime Ministry
iv. Heike Proske (DSM) – Managing and Motivating a Decentralized Team: Lessons from the DSM”

Friday, 30th
– Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers – Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara
– Filipino seafarers, fishers, and their families – Ms. Rebecca J. Calzado
– Filipino seafarers and fishers on international waters – Mr. Hans Leo Cacdac
– Filipino seafarers and fishers in the global maritime industry – C/E Marcial C. Amaro III
– Labor concerns and legislative agenda for Filipino seafarers and fishers – Mr. Silvestre H. Bello, II
– Needs and issues of Filipino crew on board cruise ship

Cardinal Tagle Inspires Seafarers’ Welfare Leaders to Serve the Vulnerable


It was a great honour for the participants of the ICMA Ahoy course to welcome H.E. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas International, to speak about the importance of ecumenism in the work of seafarers’ welfare. The speech was a high point in a week full of insight about the joys and challenges of Filipino seafarers worldwide. After Pope Francis, Cardinal Tagle might be one of the most recognizable and admired Catholic leaders alive today: no doubt, it is with immense pride that Filipino Catholics claim him as their own. Hence, dressed in a simple barong and wooden cross, speaking as a Filipino, and one with a deep knowledge of the plight migrant and refugees around the world, he was well-placed to encourage work among Filipino seafarers.

From his opening words to the closing, the audience was engrossed and inspired. The opening line lit a fire in our minds and brought home the reason for which we were gathered together: “Jesus prayed for unity. ICMA is already an answer to Jesus’ prayer in the maritime world.”

He situated his remarks by exploring the connection between movement and vulnerability in our world. All of life is on the move, he said, and being on the move creates an occasion for vulnerability. But living in vulnerability is not in itself an evil: God himself chose to become a creature and acts in that space of vulnerability. His mercy, love, and caring are found among the alien, foreigner, widow, and orphan. The Church is called to be in that space of vulnerability as well. The sad reality, however, is that that space should be filled by compassion and mercy, but is all too often one of manipulation and exploitation. The unhappy truth is that those who are most vulnerable in this life on the move, too often invite exploitation, not compassion. The Gospel calls us to fill that space of vulnerability with hospitality, not hostility. This calling is not just for some Christians, but all should be encouraged by a true ecumenical spirit in all Christians to uplift and heal people that are on the move.

Cardinal Tagle remarked that his experience of care for the vulnerable led to four practical suggestions for ecumenical work among seafarers:

First, that we can continually recognize what we have in common: we have a common humanity; we are all created by God. Problems for the vulnerable begin when they become less than human, a commodity to be bought and sold.

Second, we can affirm common Christian treasurers. Guided by the Holy Spirit, these gifts are our common resource for handling our real diversity. Though we continue to have differences of opinion on church and sacraments—and should discuss them!—we can nonetheless share treasurers together.

Third, ecumenism involves a common change of heart: we need to get rid of biases, need to listen to others with humility. Dialogue with others is not just listening to the facts of the other’s beliefs, but trying to learn from them with appreciation. Above all we need to avoid the kind of proselytism that offers aid to the vulnerable on condition that they join our cause.

Finally, Cardinal Tagle noted that we can join together in practical ecumenism: we can work together to restore the dignity of those who have had their humanity stolen from them. In working with Filipinos and all Overseas Foreign Workers, he had one suggestion: encourage forms of recovering lost humanity through joy and music.

The speech by Cardinal Tagle was tied together with stories of joy and humanity: his unmistakable love for migrants, refugees, and all those on the move made his message compelling. He seemed to enjoy genuinely learning about the work of ICMA and also stayed for lots of selfies with the participants!

Press Release: ICMA

22nd August 2016

London, United Kingdom – The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) would like to inform its members and partners that the Revd Richard Kilgour will be leaving ICMA effective 19 August 2016.

The Rev’d Kilgour’s achievements since January 2015 included effective support of several international seminars and meetings and successful work on key grants for current programs. Throughout his tenure Revd Kilgour showed genuine concern for the cause of seafarers’ welfare and spoke often of the continued relevance of ecumenical relationships to serve this cause.

ICMA thanks Revd Kilgour for his work and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.

If you have questions about current programs of ICMA, please contact the ICMA Chairman, Fr. Bruno Ciceri at:

About ICMA: The International Christian Maritime Association (a UK-registered charity) exists to encourage and assist Christian non-profit organizations around the world, engaged in welfare work for seafarers, fishers, and their families.



Ahead of the ICMA Annual General Meeting set for September 28th at Manila, Philippines, ICMA publish the Annual Report and Accounts of the Charity as approved by the Executive Committee.  DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

In the reporting year to December 2015 ICMA continued to deliver on the ICMA Strategic Plan (2014-2018) with significant partnership developments across the maritime sector. In November 2015 ICMA combined with ISWAN in Gdynia Poland for its AGM and a successful international seminar on seafarer welfare. In Poland the ICMA Professional Development Committee launched a new curriculum with online training for chaplains. In other developments; positive and practical connections were made with the innovative work of the Sailors’ Society to establish a ship visitor APP, and ICMA actively facilitated efforts to make the APP available to member organisations of ICMA for improving port based welfare provision. A pilot trial was held in early 2016 with over 100 users in ports across the world.

AHOYFurther partnership work has provided for the AHOY 2016  course. This initiative beginning in 2015 has attracted significant funding and support  from three maritime funders in an unique collaboration for ‘cultural; immersion’ training at Manila in the Philippines in September 2016.

An initial survey of those attending the course in Manila estimates that between 70,000 – 100,000 Filipino seafarers a year are being served directly by this particular group of port based welfare workers.  Ship visiting, engagement with seafarers in seafarers’ centres, and providing communications and transportation are part of this daily interaction to benefit Filipinos and all seafarers away from home. A cultural immersion course In Manila will provide welfare workers with a better informed perspective for improving services to all Filipino seafarers in their care.

ICMA August 2016


TK Foundation Small



FISHING : ICMA highlights illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing (IUU) issues from FAO

ICMA Chairman Fr Bruno Ciceri is presently in Rome following proceedings of the FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.  The recent notice from the FAO regarding strengthening regulation of IUU activity with the Port State Measures Agreement means that inspection for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing follows from this FAO accord affecting over 30 states including the whole European Union block of members. Further detailed reports, information, comment and other links will be found for this and many other issues at the FAO site.

ICMA  has recently returned from visits in East Asia to ICMA members working with fishers in the ports of Kaohsuing and Pusan. ICMA emphasised the continuing importance of maintaining support and advocacy for fishers, and recognised the important task of connecting with fishers and their families through the extensive ministry of our member organisations.











‘Luisteren naar zeevarenden zelf’ – Priority for Listening to Seafarers First at Cardiff Research Centre

Verslag bezoek SIRC Conferentie, Cardiff, 29-30 juni 2016. Luisteren naar zeevarenden zelf –

SIRC Symposium Cardiff, June 29-30   ‘Listening to the Seafarers Themselves’  (Rev Stefan Francke) see below for full ENGLISH report.

SIRC Symposium (Large)

Op 29-30 juni werd in Cardiff de 21ste verjaardag van het Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC) gevierd met een symposium. Namens de ICMA mocht ik daarbij aanwezig zijn – samen met meer dan 80 afgevaardigden uit de maritieme industrie, gerelateerde organisaties en de wetenschappelijke wereld.

Het was allereerst goed om in de onderlinge ontmoetingen te ervaren dat de ICMA positieve associaties oproept. Het maritieme welzijnswerk heeft nog altijd een goede naam.

Op het symposium werden verschillende papers gepresenteerd met de resultaten van recent onderzoek. Als het gaat om factoren die het gebruik van “mandatory equipment” beïnvloeden – design, motivatie en training – blijken de ervaringen van zeevarenden zelf van groot belang. SIRC’s methode van etnografisch onderzoek, startend bij de leefwereld van de zeevarenden en vervolgens verbredend door middel van vragenlijsten, is zeer productief. Zoals ook een Oekraïense HWTK aangaf bij de opening van de conferentie: SIRC zorgt voor aanbevelingen die voortkomen uit de praktijk. Natuurlijk is de werkelijkheid ook dan vaak weerbarstiger en complexer dan je zou hopen – zo bleek uit de discussies die op de presentaties volgden.

De “menselijke factor” kwam ook naar voren bij andere onderwerpen op het symposium: ervaringen met verstekelingen, frustraties met havenpersoneel en de (soms) spanningsvolle relatie tussen schip en kantoor. Nuttig voor maritieme pastores om kennis van te nemen, omdat deze zaken in de gesprekken aan boord ongetwijfeld aan de orde zullen komen. Het is goed om oplettend te zijn op de aanwezigheid van menselijke drama’s, druk van buiten, corruptie, etc. etc.

SIRC en ICMA delen eenzelfde focus: de leefwereld aan boord. Beide bevinden we ons in goed international gezelschap. We hebben gemeenschappelijke belangen qua onderzoek. Het is belangrijk om deze verbondenheid te koesteren.

July 2016, Stefan Francke     (De powerpoints van de presentaties zijn te vinden op:

On June 29-30, the Seafarer’s International Research Centre (SIRC) celebrated its 21st. anniversary with a symposium in Cardiff (Wales). Rev. Stefan Francke of ICMA member: ‘Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee, Netherlands’ Foundation Providing Pastoral Care for Workers in Dredging and Marine Construction attended on ICMA’s behalf. There were more than 80 representatives from maritime industry, related organizations and academic departments. Research methods and outcomes of research with seafarers were under discussion over two days. Alongside this Rev Francke reported that the symposium provided for many conversations between the sessions, especially in seeking positive connections for ICMA in the academic environment. Maritime welfare work maintains an important reputation in this context.

During the symposium, different papers were presented, showing the results of SIRC’s recent research. The primary focus of research are the experiences of seafarers themselves. Covering a range of topics and contexts including; use of mandatory equipment: design, motivation (“buy in”) and training. SIRC’s ethnographic method has been particularly productive, starting in the seafarer’s everyday environment and subsequently widening the scope with questionnaires. A Ukrainian Chief Engineer stated at the opening of the conference: SIRC provides “real life” recommendations. Relating complexity of the research to real life situations is a constant theme for engagement on these topics.

The “human factor” was evident across the programme of the symposium: including experiences with stowaways, frustrations with port personnel and the (sometimes) tense relationship between ship and office. Rev. Francke emphasized that for chaplains, these topics are most relevant, because they will come up in conversations on ships. Realising an awareness of human dramas, outside pressures, corruption, etc. is most important to engaging the seafarer.

SIRC and ICMA share the same focus: everyday life on board. A research organization like SIRC and ICMA are both are in good international company. We have common interests regarding research. We have to cherish this interconnection.
July 2016, Stefan Francke       The symposium powerpoint presentations can be found at:

Richard Kilgour. General Secretary ICMA

The Story of Seafarer Welfare ‘All for us’ Day of the Seafarer

The ‘story of seafarer welfare’ continues to reflect the challenges and response of welfare societies in many situtaions and conditions. Approaching the International Day of the Seafarer 2016 the Apostleship of the Sea reports from Mauritius how real human contact matters as first responders on the ground from our mission societies continue to minister at the real point of need …..

Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Port Louis chaplain Fr Jacques-Henri David has been visiting the crew of MV Benita who are anxious and distressed following the incident.“The ship drifted towards the southern coast of Mauritius during the night of June 16th and hit Le Bouchon reef in the early morning of June 17th,” said Fr Jacques-Henri.    The ship was on its way from India to Durban, South Africa, and got into trouble after an incident on board.  “Several crew members say they are very traumatised and they all seem genuinely concerned for each other’s welfare,” said Fr Jacques-Henri. “The fourth engineer has been hospitalised and authorities are waiting for him to regain consciousness so he can help with inquiries. He is said to be able to provide vital clues in the case,” he added.

Fr Jacques-Henri said one seafarer was in custody and two others are on board the ship, working with a salvage company.  The captain and the rest of the seafarers are being cared for by the Philippines Consulate, he said.  Fr Jacques-Henri was able to recover some of the crews’ personal belongings such as jackets, sandals and T-shirts from the ship.He is also making arrangements to visit the hospitalised crew member and the seafarer in prison.  “The local shipping agent is negotiating for the seafarers to be paid their salaries promptly,” Fr Jacques-Henri said.

Fr Jaques Henri David, Mauritius
Fr Jaques Henri David, Mauritius

IMO Day of the Seafarer 2016 – ISWAN Welfare Awards

25th of June is the official United Nations day of observance when we join with the International Maritime Organisation IMO in placing the ‘seafarers’ of the world upmost in our thoughts as the theme of the day this year highlights is ‘At Sea for All’. In his annual message for Day of the Seafarer, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “this year, on the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion”.


Follow what the Secretary General says on this Youtube delivery for the ocassion.  Also at this time seafarer welfare services and especially those who work in centres and in visiting ships around the world are being honored in Manila in the Philippines as ISWAN stage their annual welfare awards with the Secretary General of IMO. Shortlist details have been provided by ISWAN who organise the annual event. Amongst those named are representatives of the broad membership of ICMA societies:

For Seafarers’ Centre of the Year (sponsored by Wrist Ship Supply): Stella Maris, Barcelona, Spain; MTS Busan, South Korea; Stella Maris, Mackay-Hay Point, Australia; Port Arthur International Seafarers Center, USA; MTS Townsville, Australia; MTS, Victoria- Australia

For The Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year*; Organisation (sponsored by The International Chamber of Shipping):AMOSUP; Humans At Sea; Hunterlink

For The Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year; Individual (sponsored by The International Chamber of Shipping):Pst Joseph Chacko (India); Howard Drysdale (UK); Rev Stephen Miller (East Asia); Maike Puchert (Germany); Fr Edward Pracz (Poland); Roger Stone (UK)

Richard Kilgour.