Category Archives: Ministry

Film on Germany’s response to piracy

A documentary film on Germany’s response to piracy attacks features Reverend Martina Platte of the Deutsche Seemannsmission (German Seamen’s Mission).

Reverend Martina Platte
Reverend Martina Platte

In the film, Reverend Platte encounters masters and ratings who have experienced piracy.  Some had lost but a few dollars, others barely escaped with their lives.  The film follows Platte through the port of Hong Kong as she meets seafarers who have come through the Straits of Malacca and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.  These last two years the latter has become the most dangerous stretch of coastline in the world.

In this German language film you will meet seafarers who have been taken captive by pirates and have lived to tell the tale, including Krysztof Kotiuk the master of the “Hansa Stavanger”,  Eberhard Lixfeld from “Reider Shipping”, Thomas Kossendey, the Secretary of State in the office of the German Federal Minister of Defence, marines from the fregate “Augsburg” and an imprisoned pirate.
To watch this 90-minute documentary film “Piraten – Wegelagerer der Weltmeere” online, click here

To read the covering (German) article on the film posted on the website of Radio Bremen TV, click here

The “Knit before Christmas”

The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) of New York and New Jersey has appointed Paige Sato as the new Program Manager for its 112-year-old volunteer knitting program, Christmas at Sea.

Paige Sato
Paige Sato

And so preparations for Christmas 2010 begin in earnest.   Many ICMA members visit ships bearing gifts at Christmas.  And many of those gifts will be beanies and scarves lovingly knitted by scores of people who want nothing less than to demonstrate the warm heart of God’s coming in Jesus Christ.

Paige Sato is no different.  She zealously supports charitable causes.  And Paige co-owns a knitting store in Montclair, NJ.

The Reverend David M. Rider, SCI President & Executive Director, says: “Paige brings incredible personal energy, life experience, and entrepreneurial skills.”

Continue reading The “Knit before Christmas”

A pastor supported by ship owners


Toon van de Sande
Toon van de Sande

In our series of articles celebrating International Year of the Seafarer, Pastor Toon van der Sande describes how chaplains and ship owners can work together for seafarers.

Every ship has an owner, responsible for the seafarers who work on his ship.

Inside the companies, people have to care for seafarers, as seafarers have to take care of the ship and eachother. Outside the companies, there are welfare workers and pastors. Most of them outside have no relationships with the ship owners. They don’t know them and they seldom meet. I think both sides have vague ideas about each other’s work. That is a pity!

I am a pastor working inside and outside the company. Outside because I am independent. Inside because I am a pastor working for a foundation that is 95% financially supported by ship owners.

Pastoral care onboard after a crisis
Pastoral care onboard after a crisis

I work as a flying and sailing pastor for the Dutch Dredging Industry, visiting their projects and ships abroad for 100 days for 100 days each year. The result is that everyone in the company knows me by name. I feel very welcome when I visit their ships, but also the head offices, having regular contact with staff and highest management. Based on that history, I am asked to join the ship when there is a crisis or an emergency: deadly accident, capsizing, piracy etc..

Onboard then I am a pastor, meaning not a lawyer, security-officer, agent, psychologist or company representative. Everyone knows how many people show up after a crisis onboard. They all have a job to do and are very busy. The day of a captain in such times is overloaded with meetings, investigations, writing reports and organizing a lot of things. Amongst all those people, I am normally three days on a ship trying not to interfere with all the work that has to be done. I am just there for the seafarers, talking with them when there is time and space and an urgency.

“How are you?”

And they tell me their stories about what happened, stories about responsibility and feelings of pain and guilt. Continue reading A pastor supported by ship owners

Featured ministry: Manila

Fr Paulo Prigol
Fr Paulo Prigol

Fr Paulo Prigol and his team offer pastoral care to seafarers between contracts

Last month we reported on the Party in the Park, a great celebration of seafarers in Manila, capital of the Philippines. The park in question was Luneta Park where many seafarers gather when they come to the capital in order to secure their next contract. Filipino seafarers may spend weeks, or even months, visiting the various manning agents in Manila, many of which are situated close to Luneta Park. Continue reading Featured ministry: Manila

At Pentecost…

From the Antonius of Padua Churchkerk, Aerdenhout.  Source: Wikimedia Commons
From the Anthony of Padua Church, Aerdenhout. Source: Wikimedia Commons

At Pentecost we celebrate that the Holy Spirit came to live in us.

What has often disturbed me about that is that we continue to fail dismally at living right.  Surely the Spirit should equip us to know better than to sin and to be better at living?

But then, we should not divorce the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ.  Doing so will always lead to misunderstanding of God, and to a misrepresentation of ourselves.

Remembering that God’s greatest saving act was to raise Christ from death, changes how we see our broken lives.  The Spirit’s coming results in our own resurrected lives.   Life in the Spirit means not so much that we have succeeded to put an end to our sinning.  It does mean that having sinned, we are not doomed to be stuck in the mess. And while perhaps we are still not as good at life as we should be, the Spirit ensures that we never give up trying. Because living again is possible.

Having faith in Christ is to believe that we too are resurrected, to know that there is a way to go on after failing horribly at life.  Without the Holy Spirit we would have had none of that.

So?  Never give up:  start over and come alive.   That’s the miracle we need.  That’s the difference the Holy Spirit makes.  It’s in giving up that we die.  Don’t.  Have yourself a life! That’s what the Holy Spirit is all about.

The International Christian Maritime Association prays for God’s blessing upon all its members at this time of Pentecost.

Reverend Hennie la Grange
ICMA General Secretary

The meaning of ministry

Bernard Vincent  is a ship visitor and seafarers’ centre volunteer in the French port of Marseille-Port de Bouc-Fos. He is especially well qualified for this role as he explains in this reflection on the meaning of his ministry to seafarers.

1apostelship-of-the-sea1“I am a retired seafarer and have been a deacon with the Apostleship of the Sea for more than 45 years. I have been retired for ten years and am now based in the port of Marseille-Port de Bouc-Fos in France. I was ordained as a deacon for one purpose: to be there for the poorest and most isolated seafarers.

Originally, I was a mechanic. I spent 38 years sailing with the poorest and most isolated seafarers, always under foreign flags and flags of convenience, with companies that might be German, Greek, American, Arabic…I have been shipwrecked twice, on a dredger and on a cruise ship, and on two other occasions I have had a brush with death, at sea and close to the coast. I have experienced hunger and thirst, sometimes on a salary of less than $250. Continue reading The meaning of ministry

SCI of New York and New Jersey and the Episcopal Church publish video on piracy

episcopal-churchICMA 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.

Click here to watch the video:

ICMA members are reminded that the SCI had previously invited chaplains to pass on information of piracy survivors who have agreed to participate in the research.

Hennie la Grange

Continuity in care of seafarers

A tragedy onboard shows the importance of communication among chaplains

BBC Northsea
BBC Northsea
Paddy Percival, seen here with Hennie la Grange
Paddy Percival, seen here with Hennie la Grange

At the end of March this year, the vessel BBC Northsea put into the port of Durban in South Africa. There the captain requested trauma counselling for the crew. The ship was sailing from Cape Town to Singapore when a tragic accident occurred. Seafarer Denys Karpekin, who had recently joined the ship, was killed by a freak wave while working on deck. Three young seafarers, including one who had been working alongside the deceased seafarer, were especially traumatised.

Port chaplain Paddy Percival, of International Sailors’ Society, was one of those who provided pastoral care to the crew. After arrangements were made for the repatriation of the body, the ship set sail again for Singapore. Paddy contacted the representatives of the various ICMA member societies in Singapore asking them to visit the ship and to pass on greetings and prayers from South Africa. Continue reading Continuity in care of seafarers

SCI Ministry on the River

s-church-instituteICMA member the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) provides pastoral care on the Ohio and Lower Mississippi River systems.

Established in 1998, the Ministry on the River programme operates 365 days a year. A network of clergy and lay volunteers offers boat visits, counselling, fellowship and the distribution of gifts for Christmas and Easter.

Mississippi River, source: Wikicommons
Mississippi River, source: Wikicommons

Continue reading SCI Ministry on the River

Blessed celebrations of Jesus Christ’s resurrection

Reverend Miroslav Marinov
Reverend Miroslav Marinov
Zion Church's window "Resurrection".  Source Wikimedia Commons
Zion Church's window "Resurrection". Source Wikimedia Commons

Reverend Miroslav Marinov, the International Director of ICMA member LIFE International Seafarers Centers of Varna, Bulgaria, contributed this easter message to our website.

We at the Secretariat take this opportunity to wish all the members of ICMA and our partners and friends in the maritime welfare sector a blessed easter.  We pray that the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ will continue to inspire us all to live and to love unstoppably.

Easter – The stone is rolled back

“It was dark as they woke up that Sunday morning…

The two got up and put on their garments, grabbed their spices and headed out on the dirt road that leads out of the city. As they headed out on the road and as the sun began to rise, the path was lined with many dark shadows… but no shadow or darkness could compare with the darkness that hovered over their souls.

As they walked up the path towards the tomb…”

Continue reading Blessed celebrations of Jesus Christ’s resurrection