Category Archives: Partners

The Journey to Montreal 2015…..

The momentum is building this month for the gathering with ICMA and NAMMA at Montreal September 29th-October 2nd 2015.


As the General Secretary opened the proceedings of the recent ICMA Executive Committee meeting in August we committed our work together at Montreal in prayer :  “. . . .let us pray for our time in this meeting and for all the preparations for our Montreal gathering, for the spirit of adventure, discovery and for safe passage and arrival, for success in all we do in the name of International Christian Maritime Association, and especially for the work of those who serve in ports to meet seafarers, and for all at sea in ships in all kinds of conditions, for their wellbeing, their safety, and their families. In Christ’s name.  AMEN

Dr Jason Zuidema Executive Director of NAMMA reports that a hundred people have registered so far for the event, and ICMA will be welcoming some 12 of their 28 member organizations to be represented at the ICMA Annual Meeting Thursday October 1st at 15:00 hrs. at the Conference Venue ; Hotel Zero 1, 1 René-Lévesque Est (East) Montreal, Quebec, H2X 3Z5

ICMA members’ representation 2015:

– Apostleship of the Sea
– Christian Seamen’s Organisation
– Deutsche Seemannsmission
– Mission to Seafarers
– Nederlandse Zeemanscentrale
– Seemannsmission der Nordkirche
– PCT Seamen’s/Fishermen’s Service Center Taiwan
– Sailors’ Society
– Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey
– Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee
– Suomen Merimieskirkko

The meeting will bring many partners in seafarers welfare together with us to share the programme for the week. Significant topics of concern are discussed and our networks are reinforced for the wellbeing of seafarers worldwide. Our partners and contributors here include Seafarers UK, Merchant Navy Welfare Board, ISWAN, ITF Seafarers’ Trust, ITF/SIU, Lutheran Advocates for Maritime Mission, Port Ministries International, AOS-USA and more.

NOTE TO ICMA MEMBERS AND REPRESENTATIVES : Papers and Agenda/Reports for the Annual General Meeting have been emailed already to organizations. This year we are offering for those unable to travel to Montreal to join us on Thursday 1st October by video-conference link.  If an organization can provide representation and want link information; then members are asked to email the General Secretary  in advance and we can send details as soon as they are available.

Richard Kilgour. General Secretary

ICMA Partners for World Wide Vehicle SURVEY 2015

EMAILSurvey starts today from ICMA and NAMMA with email call for help to centers worldwide. The ITF Seafarers’ Trust – which often pays for vehicles for seafarers’ welfare bodies and missions – has announced it will be surveying vehicle use and effectiveness so as to use its grants as effectively as possible. The Trust will be partnering in the program between now and mid-September with ICMA, and through the contact network of The North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA).

The Rev. Richard Kilgour, General Secretary of ICMA, said that ‘we support the gathering of information in this way for planning years ahead to target funds to best effect for vehicle replacement. That ICMA has been asked to help with data gathering is another example of how we are partners in this work.” The Seafarers Trust has provided over GPB 2.5 Mil for this purpose over the last 34 years. This survey program will provide up to date information that will help make grant-giving in the future more fair and equitable to the service providers.

Dr. Jason Zuidema, Executive Director of NAMMA, called attention to this project’s importance: “Those seeking excellence in seafarers’ welfare know that partnerships are important. Collaborating on this project is not just practical, but it again celebrates the beautiful connection that members in local ports have with the Seafarers’ Trust.”

Richard Kilgour. General Secretary ICMA

IMO Secretary General visits seafarers on ships

Koji Sekimizu visits shipsMr. Koji Sekimizu, Secretary–General of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO), last week visited seafarers on ships at Tilbury in London.  Mr. Sekimizu was joined by chaplains from ICMA’s members who operate in Tilbury.  

The ship visitors spent time listening to the crew who shared their experiences of life at sea.

Mr. Sekimizu also heard from Deacon Paul Glock, port chaplain of the Apostleship of the Sea in Tilbury, how Paul supports seafarers from day to day.

ICMA’s members appreciate the Secretary General’s personal interest in seafarers and his understanding of the work that the faith-based missions do in ports to support seafarers.



Moving forward, strengthening ICMA

The General Secretary of the International Christian Maritime Association has come to the end of his term in the role.  Reverend Hennie la Grange will leave ICMA at the end of July 2013 after being in post since July 1st 2007.  He will leave the office on July 15th. Hennie wrote:

Hennie Rome1The Strategic Review is moving ICMA forward in leaps and bounds.  The Association has now arrived on the eve of a new era that promises to strengthen ICMA by transforming the secretariat and promoting the work of its members.  These challenges call for new skills and fresh commitment. The last decade’s implementation of the GRUBB Report, ICMA’s previous review, and the ever changing environment of our ministries have led ICMA to branch out and break new ground.

I am gratified by the time I spent with ICMA.  Moving across continents to take up this role has been worth every sacrifice. 

I have been blessed with a world of new friends and family in faith. I have met remarkable people. I have discovered treasures in Christ’s church that I had never imagined.  I have seen growing unity.  Together we have celebrated difference. We have shared moments of great achievement while battling the complexities of life and work. We have seen excellence and failure, and together we have overcome. We have experienced firsthand the love of Our Father at work in this unique ecumenical community. Of course ecumenical communities need nurturing, and tolerance remains key.  God’s Spirit, I pray, will help you to guard over this precious chunk of his kingdom.  

I have the utmost respect for port chaplains who serve God and care passionately for his people of the sea. I thank God for you. Your labours, performed against impossible odds, are an inspiration.  May God bless you with fulfilment, as that is the reward, I know, you desire most.

I hope that I have been able to contribute, just a little, to Christian unity, to the dignity of port chaplains and to the wellbeing of seafarers, fishers and their families.

I hope that I may have instilled in the industry and among our partners in the welfare sector, a sense of faith’s value in inspiring selfless commitment to care. 

I hope that ICMA, its members and its chaplains, are a little more valued as a resource that can be relied upon even to swim that extra mile, when walking on the water is not an option.     

Thank you all for having me!  Thank you for your friendship and hospitality. I have not always been able to deliver what was expected or required, but you loved me all the same, as Christians do.

May God bless you all.

Hennie la Grange


Old enough to be “heritage”…

The years of service delivered by seafarers’ missions is often forgotten or underestimated. It is gratifying when port communities understand the significance of centres for seafarers. 

When The (Australia) National Trust recently hosted a conference on the future of Melbourne’s maritime heritage, it was acknowledged that the domed roof of the Mission to Seafarers is iconic to Melbourne’s port.  It is an unmissable beacon to seafarers and landlubbers alike.  Docklands News reported:

Maritime heritage links the North Wharf and South Wharf areas.  The Shed 5 and Mission to Seafarers on the North Wharf have together served in history and today present unique opportunities to restore the balance back towards preservation of maritime history.  The iconic dome structure of the mission building is a notable landmark for seafarers and many visitors daily. The dome and Shed 5 are earmarked for restoration and will become even more noticeable.

“But “, Docklands News asks, ” what if the mission building was not there?”  The building, it says, will be preserved as part of the City of Melbourne’s heritage.

“…The vision for Melbourne’s Docklands was developed as a result of an extensive consultation program conducted by VicUrban (now  Places Victoria) and the City of Melbourne. The vision recognised and builds on Docklands’ unique qualities and positions it to play a vital part in maintaining and enhancing Melbourne’s role as a global city.”

We who work from these buildings know that the structures themselves, though significant part of the local architecture, are merely the spaces from where the love of God is made apparent in acts of hospitality and the pursuit of justice for all people of the sea. It is for our fellowship and faith that we are remembered and valued by seafarers.


Regional Conference commits to priorities for ministry

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
  4. Networking:  Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

CLICK HERE for the full report from the Regional Conference





 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:

  1. 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;
  2. Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
  3. Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
  4. Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
  5. Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
  6. Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.


CLICK HERE for a printable version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

CLICK HERE for the French version of the ICMA Code of Conduct


A Hijacking

To be able to say that Kapringen – A Hijacking is good as a film, would be a fitting tribute to the seafarers and the shipping company whom it depicts.  In fact, it is a very good film indeed.

The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) presented a pre-screening of Kapringen – A Hijacking in London.  The special screening to an invited audience was sponsored by the ICC International Maritime Bureau, the International Chamber of Shipping / ISF, The Nautical Institute, Videotel and INCE & CO.

The film, inspired by a real incident of piracy, follows both the crew and the company through the ordeal from capture to release.  It makes for 100 minutes of harrowing viewing.  In the panel discussion that followed, IMO Secretary General Mr Koji Sekimizu said that while, after seeing such a film, one normally leaves the theatre relieved to return to reality, this film is too close to home:  it is our reality.

The film’s focus is the effect of piracy on its characters.  Pilou Asbæk  delivers a riveting performance as the ship’s cook who is left damaged by the events.  Equally captivating is Søren Malling as the company negotiator.  Clearly, piracy leaves all those affected devastated.  Gary Skjoldmose Porter essentially plays himself: he was the company’s security adviser during the actual events that inspired the film.  He brings such credibility to the role that one is drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of the negotiating room.  Speaking after the screening he said that the filming of those scenes was done on location where the negotiations were conducted.  The reenactment  of the negotiations brought back difficult memories for him.   The location and genial direction of Tobias Lindholm clearly paid off.  The film has deservedly won awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to several accolades in its native Denmark.

There are no heroes in this film. Seafarers and company bosses are ordinary people who seek only to get on with the business of everyday life.   They are catapulted into extraordinary events.  That they survive is in itself heroic.

It is the seafarers behind this film that should be brought to mind; those 79 still held captive, and those who, upon release, now find it tough to deal with life.  It is to assist these seafarers that the MPHRP exists.  The International Christian Maritime Association is a member of this cross-industry alliance.  We bring to piracy response a network of welfare responders and religious support for seafarers and their families.  ICMA members are eager to do more.  Our members are willing to work with the industry to provide fellowship and humanitarian assistance to affected seafarers and families.

Kapringen – A Hijacking is a thought provoking film.  It deserves an audience for its own sake.  For us who care for seafarers, even more so.

CLICK HERE to see the trailer.  

Chaplains: common sense, not therapy

Chaplains’ responses to seafarers affected by piracy requires common sense, not therapy.  Pastors should be professional in fulfilling their limited but crucial role, and establish themselves as a vital resource.  

The ICMA Regional Conference in Odessa was addressed by the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme.  Toon van de Sande delivered a paper to raise awareness of the Programme’s work and its ideals for ICMA’s continued partnership.

Toon van de Sande (pictured with Alexander (left), the MPHRP representative in the Ukraine) was previously a chaplain of the ICMA member Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee, emphasised the need for training in appropriate responses to seafarers affected by piracy.  The Programme valued highly ICMA’s participation in the industry-wide alliance to care for seafarers and maritime families affected by piracy.  ICMA was a founding partner of the MPHRP. The need for a continuum of care, a concept devised by psychologist Dr. Marion Gibson, is central to understanding responsiveness to the humanitarian needs of seafarers in crisis. The role of chaplains can best be described as humanitarian first aid.  Welfare response is common sense, not therapy. Chaplains are chaplains, not lawyers, inspectors, mental health professionals, or anything but chaplains.  Our work has limitations, but has immense value. Chaplains should limit themselves to their role, and be the best they can be in delivering that role.  Evidence suggests that the role of chaplains may reduce the eventuality of complications after traumatic events. Van de Sande explained his experience of working with the industry as chaplain to the Dutch dredging industry,  responding to crises in dredging companies.  The conference deduced that the chaplains should aspire to be included in first- and emergency responder teams. The problem is that the industry is not sufficiently aware of what chaplains can contribute.  First emergency and welfare response should be demonstrated and be delivered with professionalism.  The ideal is that pastors will be recognised for their crucial role and professionalism in delivering support. A standard of professional conduct for pastors was suggested to the MPHRP by a workshop of chaplains held in Durban in 2012.

ICMA continues to support all initiatives to counter piracy and to support seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy.

Sports for seafarers

Seafarers being treated to a feast in Barcelona during the Seafarers Sports weekend

The ICMA centres in Yalta and Barcelona report that they run small but successful sports programmes for crews.  They participate in the ISWAN sports initiative.  Football and basketball games are organised.

Both these centres work closely with ISWAN’s sports programmes for seafarers.    Especially cruise ships participate. Port cities are not always supportive in supplying sports fields.  “Everything depends on relationships” said Tanya from Yalta.  They had good relations with the head of a local school who allowed seafarers to use the football fields of the school.  Now that the principal of the school has moved on and has been replaced,   they would need to establish cooperation with her replacement.

It is important to connect with the person on board who is responsible for crew  welfare and human resources.  These persons are often keen to have their crews participate.  However, due to shore leave restrictions in some ports in the region, crews often assume that they will not be allowed ashore in Yalta.

Ricardo urged the region to take an interest in sports and to join the annual regional sports programme.

The sports for seafarers project is part of ISWAN Training on Board Programme.

Twinning… or dating for seafarers’ centres!

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.