Seafarers' centres

Congratulations to ICMA members the Suomen Merimieskirkko, the Finnish Seamen’s Church, who have recently moved into the new seafarers’ centre in the port of Helsinki.

The management of seafarers’ centres is an important part of ICMA’s training programme.

“A ship’s crew is a colourful mix of people. Let us try to have a colourful mix of people working in our centres”.

Jan Oltmanns
Jan Oltmanns

So said Jan Oltmanns, Deutsche Seemannnmission, manager of the Duckdalben Seafarers’ Centre in the port of Hamburg.

Jan was speaking at a training event for people involved in managing seafarers’ centres. The event, held in Santos, Brazil, in November 2008, was a joint venture of the ICSW and International Transport Workers Federation. While in Santos, delegates were able to experience daily life in the successful Stella Maris Centre which is run by ICMA member Apostleship of the Sea.

Jan Oltmann’s valuable contribution to the training was based on his experience of managing a very successful centre over the past twenty years. Jan said,

“A stranger is a friend you don’t know yet. Let’s treat seafarers like friends. Let us design and manage our centres like places to which we would gladly take our friends.”

ICMA Secretary General Hennie la Grange also attended the training event. He thanked the Deutsche Seemannsmission, an ICMA member, and the centre of Duckdalben for helping ICMA achieve our goal of delivering quality training to members.  Hennie said,

“Jan’s presentation alerts us to the talent and expertise of ICMA chaplains to train others in the ministry to seafarers. ICMA will seek out such training resources in our midst and encourage training opportunities ”.

The final word goes to Jan.

“Onboard, every day is a Monday. Let’s make every day in the seafarers’ centre a Sunday: a day of God, a day of celebrations”.