Johan Smith, port chaplain of ICMA member the Christian Seaman’s Organisation has devised a wellness programme to train seafarers. He is currently presenting a pilot of the training programme in collaboration with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. The training is expected to be eventually rolled out internationally.
Johan Smith conceived, initiated and authored the Wellness Programme. The finished product will be witness to widespread collaboration within the international seafarers’ welfare sector. Smith was given leave of absence by his employer, Christian Seaman’s Organisation, to develop the programme having appreciated its value to seafarers’ wellbeing. Most of the content is Smith’s original work, but several of ICMA’s partners in the welfare sector have contributed, including the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (content on piracy awareness, -response and -resilience), the International Committee on Seafarers Welfare (Seafarers Health Information Programme – SHIP – material), SeafarerHelp, the Center for Seafarers Rights and Seafarers Rights International. The pilot programme has been developed and presented to cadets under the auspices of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and, it is expected to be accredited by ICMA for wider presentation. The pilot was made possible by a grant received from the ITF Seafarers Trust.
Johan Smith has written in the ICSW News of October 2012, explaining the scope of the Wellness Programme:
So, how are you doing? … Fundamentally, this is the question a wellness program asks. At first glance it is a seemingly simple question, one we answer a hundred times each day. But if you dwell for a moment and take time to answer, you soon realise that it is way more complex, and justifies more than a simple ‘I’m fine’ answer. Fact is that each of us is complex, multi-dimensional, holistic and highly unique human beings.
So how about seafarer training? Does it cater for seafarers who are complex, multi-dimensional, holistic and highly unique human beings … or is it one-dimensional, only focused on the practicality of how to steer a ship from point A to point B? An old school of thought would argue that developing seafarers is all about developing the practical, technical, occupational aspects of who they are. Other areas are often viewed as not important, even non-relevant and it would be argued that an individual is responsible for the development of the other areas by him-/herself.
ICMA affiliated organisations the Stella Maris Centre and the Mission to Seafarers Victoria in the Port of Melbourne, Australia, have collaborated with the Rotary Club, the Melbourne Port Welfare Association and beyondblue, a national initiative dealing with depression, to set up a website on the mental health of seafarers.
The website contains background information on mental health and tools for dealing with mental health concerns.
The website states:
Mental illness among seafarers is of growing concern and it is believed that mental health problems may contribute to many other physical health conditions that seafarers experience. Due to the nature of their work, seafarers are often separated from their families and support networks for long periods of time and may feel very lonely. The fast turnaround times of modern ships often result in limited time for shore leave. Seafarers who are severely depressed, thinking of suicide or self harm may not tell their fellow crew members because mental illness is not discussed openly in their cultures. It is hoped that the information on this website will give Masters information needed to identify crew members at risk and help depressed seafarers on their ships.
The Chair of ICMA’s Standing Committee on Training and Education (SCET) and coordinator of Seafarers Ministry Training (SMT) Reverend Martina Platte has announced the dates of this year’s SMT: 28 October to 10 November 2012.
The SMT is an annual educational programme soon to be accredited by ICMA. It stretches over two weeks. Its participants can be either lay or ordained. The SMT is available to persons who minister to merchant seafarers in ports. Participants should be nominated or their application should be endorsed by an ICMA society. Preferably applicants should be newly assigned professional workers in the seafarers’ ministry.
Students are invited to apply and ICMA’s members are urged to nominate candidates for the training before the end of August 2012. A limited number of 20 places are available.
ICMA proudly announces the accreditation of its first training course, The Seafarers’ Environmental Education Workshop for Port Chaplains and Ship Visitors. Originally developed by ICMA member the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, ICMA’s Standing Committee for Education and Training (SCET) have approved and endorsed the course for presentation to ICMA personnel. ICMA’s Chairman, Douglas B. Stevenson, speaking on behalf of the SCET and SCI, announced that the course has been tried and tested. He said it has already been successfully presented in Boston (25 May 2011), Albany, NY (13 June 2011) and Port Newark, NJ (14 June 2011).
ICMA is moving towards setting standards of professionalism in training for port chaplaincy. To uphold its quality of care ICMA designs training courses for its personnel that are innovative, fit for purpose and comprehensive in scope. The accreditation of this course marks the first of a comprehensive package of training instruments which ICMA intends to collect and endorse.
ICMA thanks the SCI for taking the lead. ICMA now encourages its members and partners to submit to our training portfolio existing and newly designed training materials aimed at enhancing the skills of chaplains, seafarers centre staff and volunteers. Continue reading ICMA accredits its first training course→
Registration for Seafarers’ Ministry Training, Cape Town, November 2011, closes on Friday September 30th.
Seafarers’ Ministry Training (SMT) is the flagship education programme of the International Christian Maritime Association. The next session will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 13-25 November 2011.
After a recent meeting in London, ICMA’s Chairman and member of the ICMA Standing Committee on Education and Training, Douglas B. Stevenson, issued this statement:
Twelve persons have already applied for the course. While this is an optimal number of students for the course, the deadline will be extended until the end of September for any additional student applications.
I am confident that this year’s SMT has the makings of one of the best ever. The SCET and the SMT organizing team in Cape Town are to be commended for stepping in to put the course together at the last minute.
SMT is coordinated by Rev Martina Platte. Reverend Platte will be pleased to respond to any queries. Contact information and further details can be found on the course flyer.
Seafarers’ Ministry Training course held in Cape Town, South Africa, November 2010.
Seafarers’ Ministry Training (SMT) is the flagship education programme of the International Christian Maritime Association. This year, new guidelines were implemented based on the new Terms of Reference and an updated curriculum proposed by the ICMA Standing Committee for Education and Training (SCET).
There were 21 participants in the 2010 SMT. They were unaninmous in their positive appraisal of the new programme, declaring that the content was new and informative and delivered fresh insights on the application of their knowledge and skills to the context of their ministry to seafarers. In short, there was general agreement that SMT was helpful in their daily service to seafarers. Continue reading ICMA SMT 2010 warmly received→
Port chaplains from East Asia join representatives of ICMA member organisations working together for seafarers
Three important events took place last week: the ICMA Annual General Meeting, the Consultative Forum, and the East Asia Regional Conference. ICMA general secretary, Rev Hennie la Grange joined representatives of the 28 ICMA member organisations and more than 20 port chaplains from all over the East Asia region in Penang, Malaysia.
The focus of the East Asia Conference, 21-24 September, was self-care for chaplains and ministry to fishers. The conference was addressed by Dr Marion Gibson, respected academic and valued ICMA partner. Dr Gibson presented a course entitled “Looking after others by looking after ourselves”, accredited by Respond Training. Father Bruno Ciceri delivered a presentation on the development of the ILO Convention on working in the fishing industry. Rev la Grange presented an update on ICMA activity and ministries, highlighting the ICMA website and directory.
Election of Regional Coordinator
Fr Victor Labao was elected as the new ICMA regional coordinator for East Asia. Fr Vic, of Apostleship of the Sea, is port chaplain in Cebu, Philippines. Chaplains of the East Asia region warmly thanked Rev Martina Platte who has acted as regional coordinator for the past two years at the request of the Executive Committee.
ICMA General Secretary Rev Hennie La Grange calls on all staff of seafarers’ centres to participate in our project. Share your ideas and your resources. Help us to make more seafarers’ centres successful.
Do you have wonderful ideas that make your seafarers’ centre successful? Then send them to us so that we can share with all members of ICMA on our website.
ICMA believes that setting up and running seafarers’ centres is one way to care for seafarers. There are, of course, other ways to show our Christian hospitality and charity to seafarers. But seafarers’ centres are the “parish churches” of port ministry. The faith-based ministries to seafarers are driven by Christian diakonia, our vocation to serve.