The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) is a free association of 28 Christian not-for-profit organisations working for the welfare of seafarers.
These 28 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.
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 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
Click here to download a copy of the ICMA constitution (PDF 64KB)
The ICMA secretariat is in London, in the United Kingdom. ICMA is registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1003211. The charity’s trustees are:
- Bruno Ciceri (AoS)
- Stuart Rivers (S Soc)
- Andrew Wright (MtS)
- Heike Proske (DSM)
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.
ICMA welcomes membership applications from Christian organisations engaged in seafarers’ welfare work and committed to our principles of ecumenical working.
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. For 2010, there is a minimum requirement of GBP 250. 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:
Representatives of societies considering applying for membership of ICMA are invited to contact the ICMA General Secretary for an informal discussion.