Category Archives: Advocacy

David Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II

Collaboration is key to ICMA

It became apparent once again that the members of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) benefit from our Association when individual members share expertise and publicly support one another’s goals.

David Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II
Commodore David Dickens with Queen Elizabeth II

Commodore David Dickens (The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers), Alexander Campbell (Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest) and Reverend Hennie la Grange (outgoing general secretary of ICMA) met at the QVSR in East London on Friday.

From the meeting it was clear that funding was increasingly difficult to find.  While funders have changed their funding priorities and have developed application procedures to ensure diligent grant giving, it has become tougher to get money for crucial services and emergency response.  It was floated that, perhaps, the changing needs of the welfare sector have not been recognised or understood by our traditional supporters.

While funders were reluctant to support hostel-style accommodation in London, the QVSR boasted 99% occupation levels each year. QVSR’s longer term residents from maritime backgrounds tended to resist being re-housed in council-supported private accommodation, as they needed the maritime feel of the Rest and its sense of community.  Years at sea have severed their links to onshore community life, and that is what the Seamen’s Rest is able to provide.

Similarly the Fisherman’s Mission has deepening concern for foreign seafarers working in fishing.  Recent incidents of foreign sailors incarcerated for being in the UK illegally, abandoned here due to failed contracts (a recent case highlighted by AOS GB), and of families abroad left destitute after loss of a fisher’s life, strengthens the Fishers Mission’s resolve to use the ICMA network internationally to reach these families, and to roll out assistance to international seafarers.

The leaders of RNMDSF and QVSR came away from the meeting committed to helping one another in matters of faith and resolved to collaborate on matters ofmutual interest.

Koji Sekimizu visits ships

IMO Secretary General visits seafarers on ships

Koji Sekimizu visits shipsMr. Koji Sekimizu, Secretary–General of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO), last week visited seafarers on ships at Tilbury in London.  Mr. Sekimizu was joined by chaplains from ICMA’s members who operate in Tilbury.  

The ship visitors spent time listening to the crew who shared their experiences of life at sea.

Mr. Sekimizu also heard from Deacon Paul Glock, port chaplain of the Apostleship of the Sea in Tilbury, how Paul supports seafarers from day to day.

ICMA’s members appreciate the Secretary General’s personal interest in seafarers and his understanding of the work that the faith-based missions do in ports to support seafarers.

Source: http://www.marinelink.com/news/secretarygeneral-visits356347.aspx

 

AOS Chaplain

AOS speaks out on treatment of stranded fishermen

Maritime charity, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), has spoken out on the way seafarers and fishermen are treated when they run into problems with their UK visas.  These seafarers are never without the support of ICMA member, AoS Great Britain. 

AOS ChaplainRecently four foreign fishermen, two Filipino and two Indonesian, were stranded in Newcastle, UK , when the fishing boat they were working on hit financial difficulties. The ‘Starward’ was impounded due to the owner’s financial troubles.

The crew had not been paid salaries since March. This meant that they were not able to send money back home to their families in Indonesia and the Philippines, with one crew member relating how his children were going hungry. As the crew were only contracted to work on this particular vessel they were not able to transfer to another. Also, as they were working on transit visas, the UK Border Agency had them arrested in mid-June and they were taken to a detention centre.  They were subsequently transferred to a Heathrow detention centre where some of them remain.

Throughout this ordeal the crew have been helped and supported by the Apostleship of the Sea’s Tyne port chaplain, Paul Atkinson. Paul has provided practical and emotional support, working with the AoS national office to try to alleviate the men’s stress and ensure they are fairly treated.

Apostleship of the Sea National Director Martin Foley said,

‘The application of immigration rules to these men has taken no consideration of their circumstances. It is appalling that overseas fishing crews who are stranded in the UK through no fault of their own are treated like criminals and subjected to treatment that has demeaned and humiliated them.”

Sea Faces 2

Seafarers are human too

Sea Faces 2Sea Faces 2013The IMO’s Day of the Seafarer 2013 campaign will reflect the human face of seafarers.

ICMA members have begun to participate by sending us photographs of seafarers plying their trade.  This photo is from Florin Garbea, Director of ICMA member LIFE International Ministries in Constantza, Rumania.  Florin himself visits ships and runs the local seafarers’ centre.  LIFE International will host this year’s ICMA Annual General Meeting in Bucharest.

This smiling seafarer affirms the positive attitude of seafarers who work to keep ships moving.  Seafarers are professionals. Seafarers are happy at doing their jobs.  Seafarers are a vital workforce.  Seafarers are real human beings.

Florin wrote:

Those pictures were taken in Constantza port this year, 2013, and remind us of the sacrifices that the seafarers make for all of us.  May God bless all seafarers around the world, their families and all the seafarers’ centres dedicated to the benefit of those who work on board.

The International Christian Maritime Association’s members continue to serve seafarers in every way we can.

 

DOSF-logos #4

Faces

With the recent announcement by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that “this year’s theme for Day of the Seafarer (25, June 2013) is ‘Faces of the Sea’”, ICMA invites you to send us images of seafarers. 

IMO explained that this year the theme brings into focus to the unsung heroes of shipping:  seafarers.  It aims to “spotlights the human face of shipping and the sacrifices that seafarers make.”

The IMO, quoted in MarineLink.com , said that it would be inviting seafarers to:

“Take a picture of yourself, or ask a colleague to take it, from a ship while working at sea or in port in a situation that surprises, or that inspires those that rarely consider what its like to be at sea. Post to any of the IMO’s social media channels, telling us how many days you have spent at sea this year and why you posted this picture.”

Let’s spread the word and join the fun.

ITF ST LOGO

Regional Conference commits to priorities for ministry

The final report from the ICMA Regional Conference held in Odessa concludes with a set of statements by the delegates that underline the region’s commitment to caring for the welfare of seafarers.

The outgoing Regional Coordinator, AOS Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez Martos from Barcelona, Spain, wrote that the region was committed to pursue the following goals and priorities in delivering care to seafarers and families in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region of the international Christian Maritime Association.

  1. Port Welfare Committees: PWC’s are very important for achieving more efficient assistance to seafarers. The region’s chaplains would promote such committees in each port.
  2. Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme: In cases of emergency or of piracy, port authorities, ship owners and the ship’s agents should be aware of the important role that port chaplains can play in welfare response and first emergency response.
  3. ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
  4. Networking:  Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
  5. Cruise ship ministry:  Given that access to cruise ships is not easily gained, a short and simple directory of ports and welfare providers in the region would be produced and distributed among crews and crew coordinators on these ships.
  6. MLC 2006: ICMA centres should promote the ratification of MLC 2006 in those countries where it is not yet incorporated in national legislation,  and are urged to  collaborate in its implementation in all ports of the region.
  7. Ship visiting: Given the fast turnaround and workload while in port, many seafarers have no time to go ashore. Therefore, ICMA personnel should prioritise ship visiting
  8. Onboard welfare:  Chaplains could facilitate groups on board that care for the welfare of fellow crew members.  These groups could form informal welfare committees or prayer groups.
  9. Seafarers Rights:  Chaplains are encouraged to engage advocacy for seafarers rights

This ICMA Regional Conference was made possible by a grant received from the ITF Seafarers Trust.  ICMA thanks the Trust for its generous support.

CLICK HERE for the full report from the Regional Conference

 

CODE OF CONDUCT
OF THE

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN MARITIME ASSOCIATION

 

 The Mission of ICMA

Membership of ICMA carries an obligation to abide by the Constitution of the Association and of this Code of Conduct.

The seafarers of the world remind us of the ultimate purpose of all God’s plans:” And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24,14 NIV). In a fragmented and divided society, it is ICMA ’s mission to promote unity, peace and tolerance. ICMA was founded for promoting and co-ordinating Christian ecumenical co-operation in maritime ministry.

Chaplains and staff of all ICMA Member Societies at local, national and international level are therefore to:

  1. Show an 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;
  2. Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
  3. Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
  4. Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
  5. Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
  6. Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.

 

CLICK HERE for a printable version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

CLICK HERE for the French version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

 

Kapringen1

A Hijacking

To be able to say that Kapringen – A Hijacking is good as a film, would be a fitting tribute to the seafarers and the shipping company whom it depicts.  In fact, it is a very good film indeed.

The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) presented a pre-screening of Kapringen – A Hijacking in London.  The special screening to an invited audience was sponsored by the ICC International Maritime Bureau, the International Chamber of Shipping / ISF, The Nautical Institute, Videotel and INCE & CO.

The film, inspired by a real incident of piracy, follows both the crew and the company through the ordeal from capture to release.  It makes for 100 minutes of harrowing viewing.  In the panel discussion that followed, IMO Secretary General Mr Koji Sekimizu said that while, after seeing such a film, one normally leaves the theatre relieved to return to reality, this film is too close to home:  it is our reality.

The film’s focus is the effect of piracy on its characters.  Pilou Asbæk  delivers a riveting performance as the ship’s cook who is left damaged by the events.  Equally captivating is Søren Malling as the company negotiator.  Clearly, piracy leaves all those affected devastated.  Gary Skjoldmose Porter essentially plays himself: he was the company’s security adviser during the actual events that inspired the film.  He brings such credibility to the role that one is drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of the negotiating room.  Speaking after the screening he said that the filming of those scenes was done on location where the negotiations were conducted.  The reenactment  of the negotiations brought back difficult memories for him.   The location and genial direction of Tobias Lindholm clearly paid off.  The film has deservedly won awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to several accolades in its native Denmark.

There are no heroes in this film. Seafarers and company bosses are ordinary people who seek only to get on with the business of everyday life.   They are catapulted into extraordinary events.  That they survive is in itself heroic.

It is the seafarers behind this film that should be brought to mind; those 79 still held captive, and those who, upon release, now find it tough to deal with life.  It is to assist these seafarers that the MPHRP exists.  The International Christian Maritime Association is a member of this cross-industry alliance.  We bring to piracy response a network of welfare responders and religious support for seafarers and their families.  ICMA members are eager to do more.  Our members are willing to work with the industry to provide fellowship and humanitarian assistance to affected seafarers and families.

Kapringen – A Hijacking is a thought provoking film.  It deserves an audience for its own sake.  For us who care for seafarers, even more so.

CLICK HERE to see the trailer.  

Alex and Toon

Chaplains: common sense, not therapy

Chaplains’ responses to seafarers affected by piracy requires common sense, not therapy.  Pastors should be professional in fulfilling their limited but crucial role, and establish themselves as a vital resource.  

The ICMA Regional Conference in Odessa was addressed by the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme.  Toon van de Sande delivered a paper to raise awareness of the Programme’s work and its ideals for ICMA’s continued partnership.

Toon van de Sande (pictured with Alexander (left), the MPHRP representative in the Ukraine) was previously a chaplain of the ICMA member Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee, emphasised the need for training in appropriate responses to seafarers affected by piracy.  The Programme valued highly ICMA’s participation in the industry-wide alliance to care for seafarers and maritime families affected by piracy.  ICMA was a founding partner of the MPHRP. The need for a continuum of care, a concept devised by psychologist Dr. Marion Gibson, is central to understanding responsiveness to the humanitarian needs of seafarers in crisis. The role of chaplains can best be described as humanitarian first aid.  Welfare response is common sense, not therapy. Chaplains are chaplains, not lawyers, inspectors, mental health professionals, or anything but chaplains.  Our work has limitations, but has immense value. Chaplains should limit themselves to their role, and be the best they can be in delivering that role.  Evidence suggests that the role of chaplains may reduce the eventuality of complications after traumatic events. Van de Sande explained his experience of working with the industry as chaplain to the Dutch dredging industry,  responding to crises in dredging companies.  The conference deduced that the chaplains should aspire to be included in first- and emergency responder teams. The problem is that the industry is not sufficiently aware of what chaplains can contribute.  First emergency and welfare response should be demonstrated and be delivered with professionalism.  The ideal is that pastors will be recognised for their crucial role and professionalism in delivering support. A standard of professional conduct for pastors was suggested to the MPHRP by a workshop of chaplains held in Durban in 2012.

ICMA continues to support all initiatives to counter piracy and to support seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy.

Tatyana

Tough times for centres

Seafarers’ centres represented at the ICMA Black Sea Mediterranean and Middle East Regional Conference report on how tough it has become to maintain facilities and staff.  

Reports received from the centres in the region reveal the challenges that beset ICMA members’ operations and service delivery to seafarers.

Some centres, like Yalta’s, have long and proud histories.  Others are fledgling operations, starting up to meet the needs of seafarers in the region.

The dedication of our chaplains to continue their work in the face of almost impossible odds, is all too apparent.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to afford centres or even centreless ministries.  Chaplains, ship visitors and centre staff  often volunteer their services. Good news is that the AoS report that it established a chaplain in Casablanca,  Morocco, in February 2013.  Father Arnaud de Boissieu, previously from Marseille, now visits crews onboard ships in Casablanca.

Port authorities in many cases have little understanding of chaplaincy, resulting in chaplains being denied access to ports and ships, and centres receiving little if any support from ports. Chaplains were urged to nurture relations with their ports.  ICMA should consider ways to assist and train chaplains to engage in fruitful discussions with port authorities on ISPS interpretation regarding access and understanding the Maritime Labour Convention.  Presently, in all of Ukraine, only Odessa’s port authority allows unfettered access for chaplains.

The Seafarers’ Centre in the Port of Yalta related just how difficult it is to maintain services. However, their survival as a centre is a story of marvelous resilience and innovation. They singled out Douglas Stevenson, and the Center for Seafarers Rights, for praise and gratitude for valued support over many years.

Natalya 3

Nuture selfrespect to improve seafarers’ lives

“Seafarers are human.  They are not simply labourers nor expendable commodities.  Respect for seafarers, and seafarers’ respect for themselves, should be nurtured to enable seafarers to improve the quality of their lives.” 

Nataliya Yefrimenko, Odessa-based ITF Inspector, conveyed the warm regards of the ITF and its local affliliates to the ICMA Regional Conference.  Yefrimenko represented both the ITF and the ITF Seafarers Trust at ICMA’s Black Sea Mediterranean and Middle East Regional Conference in Odessa.  The ITF Seafarers Trust made the Regional Conference possible by awarding ICMA a generous grant .

Giving a short overview of the history of the ITF Seafarers Trust, its operations and current structure, and alluding to its strategic review, Ms Yefrimenko said:

The welfare of seafarers requires the partnership of all organisations with the wellbeing of seafarers at heart.

The ITF and its Trust is committed to assisting those who help seafarers. The Trust supports SeafarerHelp (the global 24-hour multi-lingual helpline for seafarers in distress), the MPHRP (the industry’s response to the humanitarian needs of piracy survivors), the HIV/AIDS Project (and other health and safety initiatives), mobility and communication initiatives (including mini-buses, shore leave issues, access to port welfare services and -facilities, Wifi and internet access, phone cards, etc.) and Seafarers’ Rights International, among others.

Quoting David Cockroft, she said: The ITF Seafarers Trust coordinates global work to meet the complex welfare needs of seafarers.  She added that Steve Cotton has said that the strategic review currently in process at the ITF Seafarers Trust, will be responsive to the welfare needs of seafarers as outlined by the MLC 2006.

Yefrimenko said that with 137 ITF inspectors worldwide and ICMA members’ coverage of more than 500 global ports, seafarers benefit from ITF and ICMA’s valued partnership. Our shared human approach to seafarers, settling disputes and solving problems and fulfilling needs improve the lives of seafarers.

She said: The future goal of the ITF Seafarers Trust is improved support for seafarers.  Not to leave seafarers in the victim-valley.  From our different perspectives we all help seafarers.  And, like ICMA chaplains, ITF Inspectors have a prescribed and limited role.

Yefrimenko urged ITF affiliates to  help improve chaplains’ access to seafarers.

Oleg Grigoryuk, First Vice Chair of the Marine Transport Workers Union of Ukraine also warmly welcomed ICMA to Odessa and the Ukraine.  Grigoryuk praised ICMA’s commitment to the wellbeing of Ukrainian seafarers in ports all over the world.

A lively discussion ensued after Yefrimenko’s presentation, demonstrating the dire need for more bilateral contact, discussion, debate and collaborative problem solving in the interest of  seafarers.  Chaplains were invited to refer suggestions for improved welfare provision to the ITF’s strategic review.