The ICMA ExComm is meeting in Rotterdam for the next few days. Thank you to Chaplain Stephen Hazlett and his team for welcome at the Mission to Seafarers in Rotterdam. Thank you to Capt. Bernt Koning of the Nederlandse Zeemancentrale for organizing the meeting!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information.
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.
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.
Affiliates to ICMA’s founding member, the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA), are urged to register for the upcoming NAMMA Conference. The NAMMA Conference commences on August 5, 2013 and concludes on August 8.
“It is shaping up to be a great time of sharing and learning,” said Loring Carpenter, the NAMMA Executive Director and soon to be General Secretary of ICMA.
The quality of speakers, the content and relevance of the presentations, and the chance to share mutual issues as we serve seafarers make this an invaluable few days. In addition, you’ll have fun in the sun! We will have a chance to meet the new General Secretary of Mission to Seafarers, and hear from him on the life of Fishers (he was most recently the leader of a mission to Fishers). Our keynote speaker will be Keynote Speaker: Rev. John W. Crossin, OSFS, Executive Director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from the Bishops Council and a dynamic advocate of mariners. And we will have opportunity to learn more about Critical Incident Stress Management from one of the internationally known trainers.
At the invitation of ICMA member LIFE International Ministries, the 2013 Annual General Meeting of the International Christian Maritime Association is, God willing, set to take place in Bucharest, Rumania.
At its meeting in London on Friday 17th May, the Executive Committee accepted the invitation of LIFE to gather in Bucharest. The decision was taken in line with the policy to visit members of the Association. Two members had offered to host the 2013 Annual General Meeting. ICMA appreciates its members’ hospitality.
Our smaller members face unique challenges. Our visit to LIFE shows the Association’s solidarity with its smaller members.
Director of LIFE, Florin Garbea, said:
“We are a small member, but would be honoured to host the ICMA family in Rumania.”
Members will be expected to arrive in Bucharest by the evening of September 30th, in time for the opening reception.
The members will meet on the 1st of October to discuss the results of the ICMA Strategic Review, and will participate in the planning for its implementation. The Executive Committee will present a Strategic Plan for ICMA that reflects the outcomes of last year’s Members’ Consultation in Rome. The Strategic Plan will be available by September 1st, 2013.
The Annual General Meeting will take place on the morning of October 2nd, 2013, followed by an ecumenical service of worship.
Members will depart from Bucharest after lunch on 2 October.
At its meeting earlier this year in Dublin, the Executive Committee urged members to participate in the discussions on the Strategic Plan. To facilitate input from the whole Association, papers would be circulated well in advance. Comments and suggestions sent to the Secretariat by e-mail before the meeting, would be considered, even if the member cannot be present in Bucharest. In London, the Executive Committee invited members to send delegations to Bucharest. It was hoped that all members would be represented.
Information and registration forms will reach members shortly. Guests are encouraged to book flights well in advance to ensure the best fares. LIFE has secured excellent accommodation in Bucharest at a good price.
Delegates will pay all their own costs. ICMA and LIFE will do our best to keep costs down.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
- Networking: Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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;
- Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
- Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
- Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
- Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
- Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The twinning of seafarers’s centres, a project currently run by the newly established ISWAN, was initially intended by ICSW to connect ex-Soviet Union centres with centres elsewhere in the world. Set up to improve understanding of the the mindset of Slavonic seafarers, and to inspire hospitality to foreign seafarers in Eastern European ports, the Twinning programme has proven so successful, that it has been expanded to include the rest of the world.
Seafarers’ centre staff are supported to enable reciprocal visits. Spending time at other centres that have similar needs and demographics, and that face challenges akin to those at home, allows for centres to learn from one another. Centres are matched on various criteria. The evaluation of the twinning scheme has been universally positive. In some cases twinning of seafarers’ centres have gone way beyond the original aims of the programme, resulting in ongoing relations being established between the host ports and even the host cities.
Tatyana Tarasysk, manager of one of the two seafarers’ centres in Odessa, Ukraine, leads the project. Tatyana Tarasysk promoted the programme in a presentation at the ICMA Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Regional Conference held in Odessa. The aim of the programme, she said, was to improve seafarers’ welfare. “To feel encouraged when you see others struggling with the same problems.”
Tatyana related several stories and comments from centres that have participated. She urged ICMA centres to consider participating in the Twinning scheme.
Guidelines on who could participate and how to get involved are available on the website of ISWAN, the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network.
“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.