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Winter in Yokohama

As countries in the Northern Hemisphere prepare for the cold, we have received this update from ICMA members the Association for Seafarers’ Mission in Yokohama.

Association for Seafarers' Mission JapanOne of the smaller ICMA organisations, the Association is run by Rev Lamberto Valino, assisted by his wife Angelita. Both originally from the Philippines, they have spent several years offering the hand of friendship to visiting seafarers in the ports around Yokohama.

Rev Valino writes:

“The lack of seafarers’ centre to operate did not stop us from pursuing a better and more interesting goal to serve the seafarers. We make them feel they have family in a foreign land like Japan. We help them feel Yokohama is a place where they can meet their long lost brothers and sister.
Continue reading Winter in Yokohama

Christmas is coming to Halifax

Delivering gifts, Halifax
Delivering gifts, Halifax

ICMA members in the port of Halifax, Canada, have begun preparations for Christmas.

During December, the Mission to Seafarers team aims to give every seafarer entering the port a “shoebox gift”. Maggie Whittingham-Lamont, Manager of the Halifax Seafarers’ Centre, explains:

This gift is almost entirely comprised of practical items that we all take for granted but which supply much needed comfort to visiting seafarers who are often ill-equipped for the winter weather.

Items include warm clothing, such as hats, scarves and gloves; toiletries such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo; and treats such as sweets and small souvenirs. Maggie adds:

Some people put in card with contact details and we have heard stories of some very heartfelt thank-you letters being received.

Anyone who is interested in helping the Halifax team to help prepare boxes should call Edna Vieau at the Mission on Wednesday or Friday afternoons.  See the ICMA directory for contact details.

Is your seafarers’ centre or port pastoral team preparing a special Christmas service? The ICMA Secretariat staff would love to hear about it.

SCI re-opening in Port Newark

SCI Port NewarkICMA member the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey moves into its renovated premises in Port Newark

The new centre is in the heart of the port. In addition to offering hospitality and communications services to seafarers, the centre is one of the only parts of the port accessible to the public. SCI President and Executive Director, Rev David Rider, sees the potential for the centre to act as a bridge. He says,

“we’re putting a mixture of people face-to-face and reminding each other of the valuable connections on which we depend”.

The SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights will also be moving to the new center as will several other SCI programmes. For further information, follow the link below to the SCI website.

Click here to read the full report on the SCI website

ICMA Directory updates

Help us to keep the ICMA Directory up to date

Members of AOS Japan at their national meeting in October 2010
Members of AOS Japan at their national meeting in October 2010

Many thanks to our friends from AOS in Japan who have recently sent us updated information for the ICMA Directory. We now have contact details for over 600 personnel and 350 seafarers’ centres.

The ICMA Directory contains contact details of port chaplains and welfare workers from ICMA member organisations around the world. It also contains information about the seafarers’ centres in which our members work. The ICMA Secretariat relies on people in ports to supply this information.

Click the “ICMA Directory” link on the address to check the information for your port. There are links for you to send updates to the ICMA Administrator.

Remember that the ICMA Directory is an important resource for everyone working in seafarers’ welfare. Please help us to ensure that it is as complete and up to date as possible.

AOS celebrates 90 years of serving seafarers

Congratulations to ICMA member Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) celebrating their 90th anniversary this year.

AOS began in 1920 in the port of Glasgow, Scotland, as an initiative to bring together various existing efforts on the part of the Catholic Church to help visiting seafarers. The original constitution gave as the purpose:

“to promote the spiritual, moral and social development of seafarers”.

Left to right: Fr Bruno Ciceri of AOS and member of the ICMA Executive Committee with ICMA General Secretary Rev Hennie la Grange, and Archbishop Veglio
Left to right: Fr Bruno Ciceri of AOS and member of the ICMA Executive Committee with ICMA General Secretary Rev Hennie la Grange, and Archbishop Veglio

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council which oversees AOS, has issued a message reflecting on the organisation’s history and on its work today. In his message, Archbishop Veglio acknowledges the changes in the maritime world since AOS was founded: for example, how today’s short turnaround times have made ship visiting, by well-trained pastoral workers, vital. Other contemporary challenges include the trauma caused by piracy, pollution and the depletion of fish stocks. In an international profession, and an era of globalisation, the need for cooperation with the maritime sector and good relations with partners, including other churches, is acknowledged.

Continue reading AOS celebrates 90 years of serving seafarers

A handy tool for your ministry to seafarers

The ICMA Secretariat is always on the look-out for tools that may enhance our chaplains’ ministry to seafarers.

In the October 2010 edition of the IHS Fairplay Newsletter, we came across this article which you may find useful.


Sea-Web – October 2010
A new version of Sea-web will be released towards the end of October which will include a number of new features, as well as a state of the art ‘App’ for iPhone and Blackberry users. This new facility will enable subscribers to undertake ship searches by vessel name and IMO number and view the results and key areas of information, including ownership, … Continue reading A handy tool for your ministry to seafarers

Have you met seafarers who survived pirate attacks?

A workshop on piracy has discussed ICMA members’ responses to piracy.

Pirate.  Source: BBC
Pirate. Source: BBC

The workshop suggested that we should ask you, ICMA’s members, about your experience. We would like to know what you found most helpful and what was least helpful, when working with seafarers and their families who had been affected by piracy (including hijacking, attack and threat of attack).

Please participate!  Please give us your answers before October 31st 2010.

Click here to go to the survey.

The workshop also agreed that ICMA should improve its networking on piracy issues.

Firstly, we would like to expand the African and Indian Ocean chaplains’ network.   If you work in that region, please make sure that we have your contact details in our directory.  Click here to see your profile on the ICMA directory.

It was also felt that ICMA members should tell the Secretariat of their piracy related programs, -training and -initiatives. Perhaps we could then cooperate better with one another to help survivors.

And the workshop agreed that we ICMA members should offer our talents and experience on piracy issues to other organisations for the benefit of seafarers.

Somali pirates ‘seize Taiwanese ship off Madagascar’,  says a BBC-News report

Demonstrating that piracy is an ongoing problem, the BBC News reports on 8 October 2010 that

Somali pirates have hijacked a Taiwanese-flagged ship off Madagascar in their most southerly attack yet, the EU naval force says.

The Feng Guo No 168 fishing boat and its crew were said to have been seized 270 miles (435km) east of Madagascar.

This is far from the part of the Indian Ocean normally patrolled by international warships trying to prevent pirate attacks.

However, some sources indicate that the incident may have been a false alarm.

The lack of a government in Somalia means pirates can operate freely.

The BBC goes on to say that the vessel’s crew consisted of one Taiwanese, three Chinese, two Indonesians and eight Vietnamese.

Continue reading Have you met seafarers who survived pirate attacks?

Film on Germany’s response to piracy

A documentary film on Germany’s response to piracy attacks features Reverend Martina Platte of the Deutsche Seemannsmission (German Seamen’s Mission).

Reverend Martina Platte
Reverend Martina Platte

In the film, Reverend Platte encounters masters and ratings who have experienced piracy.  Some had lost but a few dollars, others barely escaped with their lives.  The film follows Platte through the port of Hong Kong as she meets seafarers who have come through the Straits of Malacca and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.  These last two years the latter has become the most dangerous stretch of coastline in the world.

In this German language film you will meet seafarers who have been taken captive by pirates and have lived to tell the tale, including Krysztof Kotiuk the master of the “Hansa Stavanger”,  Eberhard Lixfeld from “Reider Shipping”, Thomas Kossendey, the Secretary of State in the office of the German Federal Minister of Defence, marines from the fregate “Augsburg” and an imprisoned pirate.
To watch this 90-minute documentary film “Piraten – Wegelagerer der Weltmeere” online, click here

To read the covering (German) article on the film posted on the website of Radio Bremen TV, click here

ICMA judges for the ICSW’s welfare awards

ICMA Chairman, Douglas B. Stevenson
ICMA Chairman, Douglas B. Stevenson

ICMA Chairman, Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson of the Center for Seafarers Rights (SCI), has been elected to the panel of judges for the final phase of the ICSW’s Welfare Awards.

Stevenson joins  Mr Michael Grey MBE, maritime journalist, Mr Spyros M Polemis, President of the International Shipping Federation, and Mr David Cockcroft, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation on the distinguished panel of judges.

Reverend Hennie la Grange, ICMA General Secretary, is set to participate in the initial judging phase.

Over 1300 seafarers have sent in nominations for the awards.  More than 44 seafarer centres, 21 ports, and 62 shipping companies have been nominated for the awards.

The awards will be presented by the IMO Secretary General, Admiral Efthimios Mitropoulos, at an event in London on 1 December 2010.