Category Archives: Latest News

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.

Bishop Promoter dies

Bishop René Marie EHOUZOU died on October 17th after a long illness.

Bishop EHOUZOU was promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea in West Africa.  He served for a term as Regional Coordinator of the ICMA West Africa Region.  In this capacity Bishop EHOUZOU was instrumental in the completion of the seafarers’ centre in Cotonou, Benin.  Bishop EHOUZOU hosted ministers of state, port authorities and industry representatives, the ITF and ITF Seafarers Trust, several representatives from ICMA members in the region and the  ICMA General Secretary at the festive opening ceremony of the centre in 2009.

Bishop EHOUZOU was also President of Caritas Benin.  Caritas Benin helps local communities living in poverty and refugees seeking shelter in the country and carries out various initiatives to help those most in need.

The International Christian Maritime Association honours the memory of Bishop René Marie EHOUZOU and celebrates his life and service to the benefit of seafarers on the West African coastline.