About ICMA

The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) is a free association of 28 Christian not-for-profit organisations working for the welfare of seafarers.

Guests at the Tuticorin Seafarers' Centre, India with port chaplain Rev J Simon Dharmaraj
Guests at the Tuticorin Seafarers’ Centre, India with port chaplain Rev J Simon Dharmaraj

These twenty-eight organisations represent various Christian churches and communities. Each member organisation retains its independence and autonomy. ICMA defines seafarers as people who work in merchant shipping, fishing and on passenger ships. Through its members, ICMA currently represents 526 seafarers’ centres and 927 chaplains in 126 countries.

On this page you can find information about:

  • Origins of ICMA
  • Objectives of ICMA
  • Legal status of ICMA
  • ICMA Code of Conduct
  • ICMA Constitution
  • ICMA Executive Committee
  • Applying to join ICMA

Origins of ICMA

ICMA was founded in 1969 to encourage ecumenical collaboration and mutual assistance among organisations. Such collaboration works at local level, in port, and at national and international level. In a fragmented and divided society, it is the mission of ICMA to promote unity, peace and tolerance. It is the duty of every ICMA chaplain and welfare worker to serve seafarers, fishers and their dependants regardless of nationality, religion, culture, gender or ethnic origin.

CLICK HERE for a short history of ICMA and some information of ICMA presently.

Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran and Russian Orthodox clergy in a shared ecumenical celebration at the Stella Maris Seafarers' Centre, Barcelona

Objectives of ICMA

The objectives of ICMA are the promotion of the spiritual, social and material welfare of all seafarers and the relief of need, hardship and distress among them. This practice is reflected in a variety of different minsitries.  Some work from seafarers’ centres, while others sail with seafarers on ships.  ICMA members may work from international seafarers’ centres at which all seafarers are welcome. In addition, some ICMA members provide national centres which serve as the Church abroad for nationals of different professions.  Meeting seafarers where they are, is important to ICMA. Therefore, ship visiting is almost always done, in every port where ICMA-members operate.

Legal status of ICMA

ICMA is registered as a Charity in England and Wales.  ICMA’s charity number is 1003211.  ICMA complies to the laws governing Unincorporated Associations. The ICMA Constitution (see below for a link to download the ICMA Constitution) is its governing document.  Other basic documents provide guidance for good governance and procedures.  These documents are available from the ICMA Secretariat upon request.  For more information on the governance of Unincorporated Associations, please see the website of the Charity Commission of England and Wales.


ICMA approved a Strategic Plan for the future at the fall 2013 meetings. The Executive Committee is currently working to implement the plan. A copy of the Strategic Plan is available by clicking here: Strategic Plan Adopted Sept2013-Final.

ICMA Code of Conduct

The ICMA Code of Conduct states that chaplains and staff of all ICMA member societies, working at local, national and international level, must:

Show unconditional love to the seafarer as a human being, created in the image of God, and a sincere respect for her/his personal values and beliefs

Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind

Respect the diversity of ICMA members and Churches and foster the links that unite them

Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition

Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or otherwise, which work for the welfare of seafarers

Scroll down to download copies of the ICMA Code of Conduct in English and French.

ICMA constitution

Click here to download a copy of the Constitution updated 1st.October 2015 (PDF 64KB)

The ICMA secretariat is based in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom. ICMA is registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1003211.  The charity’s trustees are:

  • Bruno Ciceri (AoS) Chairman
  • Dr Jason Zuidema (NAMMA) Vice Chairman
  • Stuart Rivers (S Soc)
  • Andrew Wright (MtS)
  • Heike Proske (DSM)
  • Jaakko Laasio (Nordic Council)
  • Capt. Bernt Koning : Nederlandse Zeemanscentrale
  • Douglas B Stevenson (SCI NY and NJ)

ICMA Executive Committee

The ICMA Executive Committee consists of representatives of the founding organisations of ICMA and one co-opted member. It acts as the governing body of ICMA.

Current ExCom Members:

  • Fr Bruno Ciceri (Chairman); Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) – Bruno is Co-ordinator for AOS International, Pontifical Council for Migrant and Itinerant People. CONTACT: Tel: +39 06 6988 7193 or +39 06 6988 7217; Email: office@migrants.va
  • Rev Jaakko Lassio (Nordic Council of Seamen’s Missions) – Jaako is a chaplain with the Suomen Merimieskirkko; CONTACT: jaakko.laasio@merimieskirkko.fi 
  • Rev Heike Proske; Deutsche Seemannsmission e.V. (DSM)Heike is Secretary General of the Deutsche Seemannsmission e.V.;  CONTACT: Tel: +49 421 1736315; Email: heike.proske@seemannsmission.org
  • Rev Andrew Wright; Mission to Seafarers (MtS) – Andrew is General Secretary of The Mission to Seafarers.CONTACT: Tel: +44-207-246-2938; Email: andrew.wright@missiontoseafarers.org
  • Dr Jason Zuidema; North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA)Jason is Executive Director of the North American Maritime Ministry Association. CONTACT: Tel: (514) 993-6528; Email: jason.zuidema@namma.org
  • Captain Bernt Koning; Nederlandse Zeemanscentrale – Bernt is the ICMA representative for Nederlandse Zeemanscentrale. He is a Master Mariner, Captain, and retired harbor pilot. CONTACT: Tel: +31 (0)6 53239530; Email: captain.king65@freeler.nl
  • Mr. Stuart Rivers; Sailors’ Society Stuart is the CEO of Sailors’ Society. CONTACT: Tel: +44 23 8051 5950; Email: srivers@sailors-society.org
  • Douglas B. Stevenson; Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) of NY&NJ – Douglas is Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights and a maritime attorney.  CONTACT: +1 973 589 5828 ext. 209; Email: dstevenson@seamenschurch.org

Joining ICMA

ICMA welcomes membership applications from Christian organisations engaged in seafarers’ welfare work and committed to our principles of ecumenical working.

Members  of ICMA at a meeting in Singapore 2007
Members of ICMA at a meeting in Singapore 2007

Applications for membership are considered by  the Annual General Meeting usually held in the second half of the year.

Societies wishing to be considered for membership of ICMA should submit the following documentation:

  • formal letter of application addressed to the Chairman of ICMA
  • completed application form
  • signed copy of the ICMA code of conduct indicating your acceptance of ICMA principles
  • a copy of your society’s constitution in English accompanied by any relevant documentation stating your organisational aims
  • one year’s financial membership contribution

The membership contributions are arranged on a sliding scale according to ability to pay. At this time, there is a minimum requirement of GBP 500. The annual membership contribution is payable in advance and is required to be paid upon application for membership. This is to demonstrate the commitment of your society to attain and to use ICMA membership. If the AGM decides that an application for membership must be refused for whatever reason, the membership contribution will be repaid in full.

Download the relevant documents here:

ICMA code of conduct

ICMA code of conduct (French)

Application form

Representatives of societies considering applying for membership of ICMA are invited to contact us for an informal discussion.


ICMA approved a Strategic Plan for the future at the fall 2013 meetings. The Executive Committee is currently working to implement the plan. A copy of the Strategic Plan is available by clicking here: Strategic Plan Adopted Sept2013-Final