Both the retiring Chairman of ICMA and his successor come from organisations which are working to assist seafarers affected by piracy.
Shortly before his retirement, in June 2009, Reverend Hero Feenders initiated the response of the Deutsche Seemannsmission to maritime piracy. Launching a programme called Piraten: Bedrohung auf See (Piracy: Threat at Sea), he said
“We cannot but react when we see the lives of seafarers disrupted [by piracy] while little is done to deal with the trauma seafarers suffer as a result”.
The programme will include interviews with seafarers as an introduction to more extensive
pastoral care. In an industry dominated by profit and technology, the human factor of seafaring risks being reduced to a mere expense. Rev Feenders said that the Mission should be the voice of seafarers wherever they are silenced.
Shortly after taking office as Chairman of ICMA, Mr Douglas B Stevenson presented an award on behalf of the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey (SCI). The Courage at Sea Award was given to Captain Richard Phillips. When his vessel was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, Captain Phillips ordered his ordered his crew to lock themselves up in safety while he personally faced the pirates. He was eventually rescued by the US navy.
Doug Stevenson praised Captain Phillips for his bravery and calmness in the face of danger and for making choices which saved the lives of his crew. Captain Phillips’ ordeal drew attention to the dangers faced by mariners around the world. Doug Stevenson said
“It is to be hoped that the situation will raise awareness of the contributions that the world’s brave mariners make to our lives”.
Doug Stevenson is a lawyer and SCI Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights in New York.
Hero Feenders led the international operations of the Deutsche Seemannsmission between 2003 and 2009. He became Chairman of ICMA in October 2007 until his retirement in June this year when he was succeeded by Doug Stevenson.