Chaplains trained to minister onboard

14 October 2008, Lohja, Finland

For two weeks, eight International Christian Maritime Association chaplains were gathered in the village of Lohja, Finland, to be trained in the ministry of seafarers in on-board situations.  The Finnish Seafarers’ Mission, under the leadership of Rev. Jaakko Laasio, hosted this prestige training event.

This is specialized training. It focuses on chaplains who would like to sail with ships. It includes the skills to share seafarers’ life-space, understanding on-board situations, and especially the skills to respond to typical emergencies.  Chaplains were taught safety procedures and appropriate life-saving responses to life-threatening crises.  The chaplains also learnt how to approach traumatized seafarers who have been exposed to stressful events.

This is a hands-on and physically taxing training event.  Chaplains were exposed to simulated disaster situations, among these fire-fighting, abandoning ship and first aid.  The training is identical to the required basic STCW-training to which all seafarers are exposed before being certificated to sail.

The training was at times as moving as it was exhilarating.  This is a programme of which the International Christian Maritime Association is particularly proud.   Not only does it afford chaplains the opportunity to experience first-hand what is required of seafarers in preparation for sailing, this training sensitizes care-givers to both the pleasures and the dangers of the seafaring life.  This training allows counsellors to hone their skills to real life situations.

The training is set to be repeated only in 2010.

Hennie la Grange