Following our recent article by Canon Ken Peters on Justice for Seafarers, Rev Marge Lindstrom shares a real example of the role of port chaplains in defending the dignity of seafarers.
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Offering hospitality and doing justice go hand-in-hand and are the cornerstones of the work we have been given to do. Ninety percent of the goods consumed in the United States get there through the hard labor of mariners who are largely overlooked by the general public. An important task for chaplains and agencies in ministering to those we meet onboard ship is to make those invisible people visible. Advocacy remains crucial.
Two years ago, as a port chaplain with the Seamen’s Church Institute, I was asked to visit a ship that was berthed at dry dock in Bayonne, New Jersey. We had received a call from the fitter’s sister claiming he had sustained a severe injury at sea and would we please investigate? Continue reading Seafarers and Justice: a port chaplain’s story→
ICMA member the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey (SCI) has collaborated with the Episcopal Church in publishing an online video on piracy. The video features the SCI’s recent initiative to research the psychological impact of piracy on survivors. The SCI’s research is intended to guage the appropriate medical care of seafarers after pirate attacks and hostage-taking.
In the second of our series of specially commissioned articles marking International Year of the Seafarer, Reverend Canon Ken Peters reflects on the role of maritime ministry in securing justice for seafarers.
It is so appropriate that 2010 is designated by the UN – IMO as the Year of the Seafarer. This is because so much progress has been made in the protection and support of seafarers in so many areas that used to fall far short of acceptable standards. The efforts of the international community to address the blight of piracy, to conduct research into the effects of fatigue, to work intensely to ensure the fair treatment of seafarers following injury or abandonment and of course, the success of the ILO in adopting the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 with its entry into force no later than 2011, affirm seafarers in the dignity of their profession.
ICMA member, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey (SCI) has commenced a study of the traumatic effects of piracy on seafarers. A preliminary report has been published. (To read the report, Post Piracy Trauma Assessment and Treatment, best practices for the maritime shipping industry, use the link at the bottom of this article.) The research is directed at health professionals and is intended to initiate new medical procedures in assessing seafarers after pirate attacks.
The work of the SCI follows ICMA’s resolution on piracy. ICMA members are committed to support and initiate appropriate care for the survivors of maritime piracy.
SCI’s paper will inform discussion on piracy when the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organisation meets in May. The IMO has published an advance paper quoting ICMA in paragraph 10.
Douglas Stevenson, ICMA chairman and director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights which is linked to SCI, writes here asking ICMA members and chaplains for help to establish contact between seafarers and the researchers:
Dr Michael Stuart Garfinkle, a clinical psychologist, is beginning fieldwork in Port Newark, New Jersey where he will interview seafarers in order to better understand the “normal stress” of being a seafarer and the “added stress” of working in known zones of piracy. At the same time, interviews will be conducted with seafarers from around the world by Internet or telephone in order to maximize participation and the reach of this study. The aim of this study is to develop a program that is tailored to the specific needs of seafarers. Continue reading SCI invites chaplains to help in its study of how piracy affects seafarers→