Category Archives: Latest News

MPHRP to continue Humanitarian Response

Maritime Piracy logoICMA welcomes the continuing commitment of all concerned in organising for the humanitarian response to the impact of piracy around the oceans of the world. From August 4th. in the UK – the boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are pleased to announce the moving of the activities of the MPHRP into ISWAN. A transfer agreement was signed by both parties on 3 August 2015. ISWAN will now be responsible for all the activities of the highly respected MPHRP.iswan

In the PRESS RELEASE this week  Roger Harris of ISWAN said ‘The move to ISWAN will enable the programme to develop under the auspices of a well-established international seafarers’ welfare organisation that is registered as a charity’.

ISWAN told us this week that ‘the programme will continue to support the seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy. While piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia have significantly decreased, attacks are on the increase in South East Asia and continuing in the Gulf of Guinea. The MPHRP programme will concentrate on these areas while still supporting seafarers who were held for years in Somalia. The programme will seek to develop constructive and positive relationships with existing and new industry partners.’

ISWAN has already appointed a new programme manager, Mr Tom Holmer, to lead the MPHRP in this new phase of its development. The programme in South Asia will continue while an immediate priority will be to secure funding to continue the programme in South East Asia and Eastern Europe.

Richard Kilgour: ICMA General Secretary said ‘the need for the humanitarian response to piracy is as vital as ever. We welcome this development in securing a base for MPHRP to continue to build upon this important work’.

Winners of the 2015 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards Announced

The winners of the 2015 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards were announced on Tuesday 9th June during a high profile ceremony hosted by Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, Mr Koji Sekimizu at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.22.17 PM (2)

The winners are:
• Judges Special Award : Rev’d Ken Peters, Mission to Seafarers Director of Justice and Public Affairs
• Judges’ Posthumous Award: Mr Paul Karras, founder of Hunterlink Recovery Services
• Shipping Company of the Year: Eidesvik
• Port of the Year: Port of Halifax, Canada
• Seafarer Centre of the Year: Seafarers’ Centre Bremerhaven
• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (organisation): National Union of Seafarers of India
• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (individual): Chirag Bahri (MPHRP)

The Welfare Personality of the Year Award is named after Dr Dierk Lindemann who sadly passed away on 17 March 2014. Dr Lindemann served as the Shipowner’s Group spokesperson at the ILO and took a lead role in getting the Maritime Labour Convention adopted.

Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

For more information and photos, check out the ISWAN website.

AGM & Consultative Forum Dates Announced

The 2014 Annual General Meeting and Consultative Forum will be held in Copenhagen Denmark. The dates are 19-20 September 2014. Participants will have opportunity to tour the Maritime Museum of Denmark in Helsingor, where the AGM meeting will be held. A Preliminary Schedule will begin at 1000 on 18 September with the Executive Committee meeting. AGM members are asked to arrive for lunch on 19 September. The AGM meeting will be held 20 September a the Maritime Museum. Registration information and materials are being sent to existing member contacts. Email if you need more information.

Stuart Rivers takes office at Sailors Society

The Sailors’ Society’s new Chief Executive Officer has assumed the role at the Society’s Southampton office in the United Kingdom on April 1st 2013.  Stuart R Rivers succeeds Robert N Adams in the role.

In a letter announcing his appointment, the Sailors’ Society wrote that Rivers has extensive experience in the international mobile communications sector, having been Strategic, and later Global, Business Director of Ericsson.

In 2002 Rivers left the communications industry and entered into full time Christian ministry for the Salvation Army.  He has since worked for BP, was Executiive Director of Enterprise at the Bible Society, has worked with the International Social Justice Commission and has contributed to Theos, the ecumenical public advocacy “think tank”.

Rivers holds post-graduate diplomas in Theology and in Marketing.

Ross Sinclair, Chair of the trustees of Sailors’ Society, said:


“Stuart posseses a most unusual blend of skills and business experience spanning commercial management, technology and charity fundraising fused with a deep practical understanding of ministry, social justice and pastoral welfare.”


The International Christian Maritime Association congratulates Stuart Rivers upon assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer at this valued founder member of our Association.  ICMA looks forward to continuing its close collaboration with the Sailors’ Society and its Chief Executive Officer who has in the recent past also assumed the role of ICMA’s Treasurer.

Initially, up to and including ICMA’s Annual Genreral Meeting in Bucharest later this year, Robert Adams will continue to represent the Sailors Society on ICMA’s Executive Committee.  Robert has a crucial role in ICMA’s strategic review and has elected to assist the Association to conclude the process before he retires from ICMA.  Sailors Society’s commitment to ICMA is highly appreciated by the membership.

Warning: scammer preys on ICMA

The scammer targeting International Christian Maritime Association personnel has had some success in convincing several of you to send money.  Please protect your chaplains and centres by warning them.

Chaplains who are unaware of how International Christian Maritime Association’s internal procedures for transferring funds might work, are the most vulnerable.  Several of them have regretfully been caught and have lost much money.   As before, International Christian Maritime Association would urge you to please tell all your international contacts of the scam.  This fraudster is very shrewd, has much insider information and does not hesitate to call by phone to back up his claims.  He seems believable.

PLEASE DO NOT send any money to anyone before you have not confirmed with the Secretariat.

International Christian Maritime Association regrets that there is no way to stop this scam other than making every effort to warn you. It is despicable that he targets unsuspecting victims who by virtue of our fellowship in faith are keen to support one another in distress.

Most recent development

The scammer has now started to target shipping companies and other contacts of ICMA in the maritime industry.  ICMA apologises to all its contacts and partners for the inconvenience. Please proceed with utmost caution, and do not send any money.

A new team leads ICMA Region

Father Oleksandr Smerechynskyy, Apostleship of the Sea chaplain in Odessa, was elected as the new Regional Coordinator for the ICMA Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region. 

Father Oleksandr Smerechynskyy and Hennie la Grange

The Region met in Odessa, Ukraine.  Oleksandr is based in Odessa and operates from a small seafarers’ centre just outside the port gates.  He shares his centre and works as a close team with colleague Rostyslav Inzhestoykov of the Mission to Seafarers.  Together these two dedicated port chaplains did a magnificent job in staging a hugely successful regional conference.  The organisation was flawless and every request for assistance was met with a smile.  The outspoken aim was that everyone should have a relaxed conference, and that aim certainly achieved.  The accommodation was first class, the meals were scrumptious, especially the traditional Ukrainian cafe-style banquet and the closing gala buffet.  The conference highlighted the wonderful hospitality of the Ukrainian people.  The speakers were clearly specialists in their field, and the chaplains eagerly participated in discussions.  The organising team deserve our gratitude and congratulations on a job very well done.

What struck me was the committed dedication and unfailing enthusiasm of the region’s chaplains.  Almost all these chaplains face very difficult odds, yet their determination to succeed in their chosen ministries to seafarers was a credit to their faith.  They love passionately what they do, caring for both seafarers and the maritime families who live locally.  They are driven by faith that leads them to care unconditionally for all seafarers.

This regional conference was an inspiration.  I commend these men and women to seafarers.

With the election of  Father Oleksandr, Ricardo Rodriguez-Martos of Barcelona, a stalwart of the region’s ecumenical work, bows out as regional coordinator.  It is fair to say that Ricardo has set the bar high for all our regional coordinators.  Ricardo has done exceptional work for this Association. He has maintained close contact with all the chaplains in his region, and has come out in support of chaplaincy and ecumenical working as the core of ICMA’s existence.  His region’s contact details are up to date, and he kept every port chaplain abreast of ICMA’s communications, adding to the Secretariat’s letters to chaplains a regular regional bulletin.  The International Christian Maritime Association thanks Ricardo, one of the characters of this ministry, for his services to our Association.

In closing the conference, we prayed together for God’s blessing of the care to seafarers given by these men and women of the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region.  May these ICMA personnel be especially blessed, their vocational commitment strengthened and their relationships cemented in faith, that they may overcome the many obstacles that they face.

Ex-seafarer models new centre on ICMA

A general view of Aliaga scrapyard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, western Turkey, June 18, 2012. Aliaga is Turkey’s only ship-breaking yard where 21 Turkish companies operate to break down decommissioned ships for recycling. Picture taken June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

The first seafarers’ centre in Aliaga in Turkey’s port city of Izmir, opens today, Monday 21st January 2013.  The Pollen Seafarers Center is an initiative of ex-seafarer Captain Onur Hurmuzlu.   The Pollen Seafarers Center is modelled on Captain Hurmuzlu’s experience of ICMA members’ centres.  

However, there is little understanding in the region of seafarers’ centres like ours. Hurmuzlu says:

“Seafarers centers closest to us are seafarers’ centers located in Russia . These places are not like ICMA  seafarers’ centres.  Some of the agents cannot understand my intentions, because they don’t know what is the meaning of seafarers centers.”

He says seafarers’ centres are wrongly associated locally with profit-making clubs and prostitution.  But, in spite of limited local understanding for ICMA’s concept of centres that care for the welfare of seafarers, Captain Onur Humuzlu says he has been able to strike up good relations with the port and ships’ agents.

The Pollen Seafarers’ Center will offer the following services to seafarers:  Continue reading Ex-seafarer models new centre on ICMA

ICMA personnel honoured for excellence

The 2012 ICSW Seafarers Welfare Awards ceremony was a glittering event befitting the excellence displayed by the awards’ recipients.  

The awards were presented in the General Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation’s Headquarters in London, followed by a reception in the delegates’ lounge.

The ICSW Seafarers Welfare Awards highlight the need for welfare services to seafarers and celebrates the individuals and organisations who excell in delivering services of outstanding quality.  In presentations to the IMO, both the Chair of ICMA, Douglas B. Stevenson, and the Secretary General of the IMO, Koji Sekimizu, pointed out the need for advocacy for seafarers’ welfare to be provided beyond the minimum standards set out in the MLC 2006, and applauded the recognition given to those providers of welfare who have achieved this goal.  It is hoped that these winners will inspire others to follow suit.

ICMA centres and personnel were among those recipients singled out by being awarded and shortlisted.

From left: Reverend Dennis Claughton, MtS Fremantle, Australia who shared the Personality Award with Father Giacomo Martino from AoS Italy, with Koji Sekimizu,Secretary General of the IMO.
Middle: Lesley Warrick accepted the Seafarers Centre Award on behalf of Seafarers House Port Everglades, USA.
Top: Thomas Reinold, on behalf of shortlisted Centre, Welcome, Bremerhaven
Bottom: Pastor Joseph Chacko from Kandla Centre (shortlisted)

ICMA values the commitment and efforts of its members’ personnel to serve seafarers, especially so in times like these when resources are diminishing.  ICMA’s ability to provide the services envisaged by Title 4, MLC2006, and to excel in doing so, is recognised and appreciated.  Congratulations to the winners.  You inspire us all!


The full list of winners of the 2012 ICSW Seafarers Welfare Awards:

  • Shipping Company of the Year: Shell Shipping
  • Port of the Year: Port of Kandla, India
  • Seafarer Centre of the Year: Seafarers’ House, Port Everglades, USA
  • Drop-In Centre of the Year: International Drop-In Centre for Seafarers, Keppel Terminal, Port of Singapore
  • Welfare Personality of the Year: Fr Giacomo Martino, Apostleship of the Sea, Italy and Rev Denis Claughton, Flying Angel Club, Fremantle, Australia

“ICMA has given me a real understanding of global maritime welfare issues” says the new MtS Secretary General

The Reverend Andrew Wright has taken up his position as the new Secretary General of the Mission to Seafarers.

The new Mission to Seafarers Secretary General has had his first day at the office.  He will lead one of the founder members of the International Christian Maritime Associations’ members.  He is no stranger to ICMA having previously been principal chaplain of ICMA member RNMDSF, the UK-based mission who care for fishers.

ICMA welcomes Andrew Wright in his new role at the Mission and in our ecumenical family.  We pray that he, and the Mission,  will be richly blessed in serving seafarers to the glory of God.

We had previously reported:

The Central Office of the Mission to Seafarers announced that the Reverend Andrew Wright has been appointed as its Secretary General.   Wright will assume office in February of 2013.  In a statement released by the Mission to Seafarers Wright stated:  “[The] International Christian Maritime Association has given me a real understanding of global maritime welfare issues.”

The Central Office of the Mission to Seafarers manages many global stations and collaborates with several affiliated operations all over the world.

The Revd Andrew Wright said:

“I am deeply honoured to have been invited to take up the post of Secretary General at The Mission to Seafarers. I am very conscious of the rich heritage of the Mission and of the dynamic way in which its work has evolved in the 21st century. I will ensure that the Mission sustains its charitable purpose in a way which is faithful to its roots but which continues to show that openness to creativity and development which has been integral to success over so many years, and which has won the admiration of so many, most especially those seafarers to whom the Mission means so much.”
“Seafaring remains a very dangerous and exposed occupation. It brings long, long periods of absence from family. Welfare issues can too often be hidden by inaccessibility and the vastness of the seas. Crews once held so high in public esteem and imagination are now largely forgotten. I am determined to raise the profile of the Mission’s vital work, and to champion the welfare of the men and women that crew the merchant fleet as my driving priority.”
“I have worked in close collaboration with some of the key maritime agencies in the UK including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department of Transport and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, which will provide the essential context to my work in 2013 and beyond. I have travelled internationally, particularly in Canada and South America and have witnessed the sometimes brutal treatment of seafarers. My involvement with the International Christian Maritime Association has given me a real understanding of global maritime welfare issues.”

Read the full announcement made by the Mission to Seafarers HERE


Helping seafarers to deal with piracy

Pre-Departure Piracy Awareness Training has been developed by the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP).  The training is to be launched in Manila on Monday, November 12, 2012. 
Maritime Executive  reported this weekend that one of the crucial outcomes of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) – to develop training for seafarers that will enhance resilience to possible encounters with piracy – will finally be delivered on Monday, November 12, 2012.

Roy Paul, the Programme Manager of MPHRP, Toon van de Sande, MPHRP Assistant Manager and ICMA General Secretary, Hennie la Grange at the ICMA Conference in Cape Town.

The MPHRP is a pan-industry alliance of ship owners, managers, manning agents, insurers and welfare associations, including ICMA.  We all work together with one aim: “to assist seafarers and their families with the humanitarian aspects of a traumatic incident caused by a piracy attack, armed robbery or being taken hostage.”

Maritime Professional states:

The launch event of MPHRPs Pre-Departure Piracy Awareness Training will be held at the SM Cinema, Mall of Asia, Pasay City Manila on 12th November 2012 at 17.30hrs.  Free tickets are available by sending an email to

The Pre-Departure Piracy Awareness Training for seafarers is designed for approximately 20 participants per session and will be presented in the Philippines in partnership with PAM TIC and shipping and manning companies.  The aims of the course include participants analysing the guidelines contained in the Best Management Practice (BMP), being aware of the available resources and documents which give information, guidelines and recommended actions before, during and after a piracy and armed robbery incident, understanding the most common reactions of those affected by piracy and considering what they may wish to share with their family concerning the risks of piracy. The programme is funded by the ITF Seafarers Trust, TK Foundation and the IGP&I.

The launch event is supported by PTC, PAMTCI and AMOSUP.  Besides several speakers from international and local maritime associations and authorities, those present will view a new film ‘A Hijacking’.   The acclaimed film tells the story of a vessel’s crew that are hijacked off the coast of Somalia.

ICMA commends the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme at reaching this significant milestone. Seafarers will benefit hugely.

For more information on the Humanitarian Response Programme, CLICK HERE.