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Piracy: helping the people who suffer

The International Christian Maritime Association has, on behalf of all its members, signed the Memorandum of Understanding of the “Maritime Piracy: Humanitarian Response Program.”  In doing so ICMA has added its voice to the maritime community in vowing to stand by seafarers and their families when affected by piracy.

ICMA had long since resolved that it would support efforts to help seafarers affected by piracy.  At the time ICMA called upon the industry to join its members in giving priority to the harm done to human lives when pirates strike.  We are gratified that the industry has now come together as never before to battle the human tragedy of piracy. The program states:

An industry-wide alliance of ship owners, unions, managers, manning agents, insurers and welfare associations (maritime, labour, faith or secular) has come together to establish the “Maritime Piracy: a Humanitarian Response Program” (MPHRP). The objectives of this program is to address the three phases of “pre-, during and post incident” of humanitarian response, with the aim of implementing a model of assisting seafarers and their families with the humanitarian aspects of a traumatic incident caused by a piracy attack, armed robbery or being taken hostage.

The program is not an alternative to existing ICMA projects to deal with piracy in our ministries.  Continue reading Piracy: helping the people who suffer

ICSW moves to Croydon, England

The Secretariat of the International Committee on Seafarers Welfare (ICSW) has moved its offices from Watford to Croydon.

The move follows a decision by the ICSW Presidium (management board) to share office space with the International Seafarers Assistant Network (ISAN, the charity that runs the SeafarersHelp 24-hour helpline).  The move is intended to save on resources by sharing staff and equipment.

The new address of the ICSW is: 10th Floor, Cygnet House, 12-14 Sydenham Road, Croydon, CR0 2EE.

The telephone and facsimile numbers remain unchanged: Phone +44 (0)300 012 4279; Fax +44 (0)300 012 4280.

Rosemary Hendry

Sadly, the move to Croydon has led to Rosemary Hendry’s departure from the ICSW.  Rosemary has been a household name at the ICSW, having been assistant to both Andrew Elliot and more recently to the present Executive Director, Roger Harris.  Clare Hendry has also decided to remain in Watford.  The ICSW Presidium said its farewells to both Rosemary and Clare at the recent Presidium Meeting in London.  Ray Barker has since joined the ICSW staff.

The move has prompted the trustees of the two maritime welfare charities, ICSW and ISAN,  to consider more ways of working closer together.

Sea Sunday prayers for seafarers affected by piracy: we are committed

Many churches supporting members of ICMA highlighted seafarers in their worship on Sea Sunday, 10th July 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI

While the Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, Reverend Tom Heffer, preached the Sunday  Evening sermon at Westminster Abbey in London, Pope Benedict XVI prayed especially for seafarers in his Sunday address from The Vatican.

Several ecumenical Sea Sunday services were held in churches and ports, all of them organised by ICMA members.  Many of these events enjoyed the full support of local port authorities.

With no solution to piracy in sight, it was only to be expected that church leaders would focus on piracy in interceding for seafarers. Continue reading Sea Sunday prayers for seafarers affected by piracy: we are committed

Best wishes to Lloyd and Karin

Chaplain Lloyd Burghart

Lloyd Burghart has retired from NAMMA.

While Chaplain Lloyd Burghart continues to be the Regional Coordinator of ICMA for our North America Region up to the Hamburg Annual General Meeting in August 2011, NAMMA’s new Executive Secretary, Reverend Loring Carpenter, takes over from Lloyd as the representative of NAMMA on ICMA’s Executive Committee.

ICMA is grateful for the sterling job that Lloyd has done over the years of his tenure.  Karin Burghart has become as much a part of the ICMA family as any of us.  Therefore we are doubly sad at saying farewell to the Burgharts.

We shall have the opportunity to say our goodbyes to Lloyd at the ICMA World Conference.

Imagine a world with no ships or seafarers…

That’s what  this thought provoking video clip asks us to do: what would happen if ships suddenly disappear?

The video is released by the UK’s Seafarers Awareness Week campaign. An annual event, the third Seafarers Awareness Week to be held in the island state of the United Kingdom, is an initiative of several UK-based maritime charities, including ICMA members the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers and the Apostleship of the Sea of Great Britain.

Seafarers Awareness Week promotes events and activities that focus on the essential work done by seafarers to keep the island nation supplied with fuel, food and goods. No less than 95% of the UK’s imports are sea borne and three quarters of exports leave the UK by ship.  And that’s pretty much true also for the rest of us…

To see the video and to read more about the 2011 Seafarers Awareness Week.  CLICK HERE

Apostleship of the Sea calls for aid to Japan tsunami survivors

On 17th March 2011, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which is responsible for the overall direction of the Apostleship of the Sea, made this statement from the Vatican.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have seen the dramatic images of buildings shaking and collapsing for the most powerful earthquake followed by the devastating tsunami that hit the Northern Japan only a few days ago. It is still early to realize the magnitude of the tragedy, entire cities are destroyed, hundreds of people are dead and ten of thousands are displaced. I do not have words to express my solidarity to all the people affected by this tragedy and I assure them that they are in my thoughts and prayers.

The government emergency and rescue response has being immediate and it will continue for weeks and months. However, I understand that facing this immense catastrophe even a technological advanced and developed country like Japan needs assistance to rebuild the lives of broken families and communities.

As it happened for the tsunami that struck the coasts of Asia in 2004, I think that the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) as worldwide community should be present as an extraordinary manifestation of solidarity. It should offer its contribution to assist the victims of this calamity.

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which is responsible for the overall direction of the Apostleship of the Sea, has decided to set up a special “AOS special Fund for the victims of Tsunami in Japan” with an initial donation of 3.000 (three thousand) Euros.

This fund, with other donations, aside from providing assistance to respond to the immediate needs of the survivors, will sustain a long-term commitment plan for the people who are at the heart of our ministry, like seafarers, fishers and theirs families.

Continue reading Apostleship of the Sea calls for aid to Japan tsunami survivors

New seafarers’ centre in Kakinada

International Seafarers' Centrer, Kakinada, India

The PORT WELFARE COMMITTEE OF ANDHRA PRADESH, India, announced the inauguration of the new seafarers’ centre in the port of Kakinada, India.

The press release states:

The International Seafarers Center at Port of Kakinada India was inaugurated on the 5th of March 2011.

The center was built due to the generosity of the ITF Seafarers Trust.

The building is equipped with modern items to provide full services to the Indian and international seafarers visiting the Port of Kakinada. The objective of the project is to promote the practical, physical, spiritual and recreational needs of seafarers. The center provides a variety of services like free transportation from ship to shore, international communication facilities, internet & e-mail, billiards, table tennis, pool, sports and cultural activities, a marine library, reading room, chapel, restaurant, accommodation, family counseling room, medical care and legal assistance, shopping and foreign exchange.

Continue reading New seafarers’ centre in Kakinada

Theo Bor

ICMA Executive Committee member and until recently the representative of the Nederlandse Zeemancentrale, Theo Bor, has died.  Theo had cancer.

The one enduring memory of Theo is his unstinting faith.  He continues to inspire us.  ICMA mourns Theo’s passing, and we express our sincere condolences with his wife, Martha, and their children.

Theo’s funeral service is planned for Saturday March 5th, 2011.

Click “More” for the text of the funeral notice. Continue reading Theo Bor

The Internationaal Zeemanshuis in Antwerp faces closure

Seemansheim at Falconplein, Antwerp. Photo: Justin Gleissner, taken from

The Zeemanshuis Falconplein in Antwerp nears the end of its lifetime

The website announced on 23 January 2011 that the International Seamen’s Hotel in Antwerp is to be demolished.  Finally, after hanging in the balance for five years, the fate of the Seamen’s Hotel is sealed.  The Council of State have rejected the ‘Red het Zeemanshuis’ (Save the Seamen’s Hotel) petition on the grounds that the 1954 building has little architectural or historical value.
Justin Gleissner reports that the site will be redeveloped as a shopping estate which will include apartments and offices.  The renewal of the historical shipping district has prompted the move. 

The Internationaal Zeemanshuis at Falconplein will close on 1 October 2012.  The hotel will then move to the site of the former Dockx Hotel at the corner of  Groenendaallaan and Noorderlaan.

The present hotel has 114 rooms and 138 beds. It is much too large for the present needs of seafarers in the port of Antwerp.  The hotel offers accommodation to seafarers at a premium rate of 25,50 Euro per night.  Tourists are accommodated for 47,50 Euro per night.

To maintain the facility for seafarers at these preferential rates, the city of Antwerp has in the past subsidised the hotel.  In 2009 the hotel made considerable losses.   It can no longer be sustained.

The Dockx building will require substantial renovation before it can be occupied.

For the full Dutch text of the story, click here

Ecumenical Maritime Ministry of India (EMMI) meets in Chennai

Manoj Joy (in front) with chaplains from EMMI

ICMA’s partner in India, the Ecumenical Maritime Ministry of India (EMMI) will be meeting on January 28th and 29th in Chennai.  The meeting will focus on “Leadership and Team Building”.  The meet is to be held at St. Thomas International Center , Hill Top, St. Thomas Mount, Chennai 600016. 

This venue, the historic St. Thomas Mount, is linked to St. Thomas, the renowned `apostle` of Jesus Christ.  It is popularly believed that St. Thomas was one of the pioneering Christian missionaries who came to India to propagate the teachings of Christianity. He is thought to have arrived in South India in AD 52, and to have spent the final years of his life in a fissure that was built on this mount. According to local lore, Thomas was killed here, shot by an arrow in AD 72.  Thus, the hill acquired the name St. Thomas Mount.

V. Manoj Joy, the convenor of the meeting in Chennai, says:

For the meet we have lined up eminent speakers to address the Chaplains and share their valuable experience. Please find below the details of the programme. We humbly request you to pray for the success of the meet.

CLICK HERE to see the program of the planned meeting in Chennai Continue reading Ecumenical Maritime Ministry of India (EMMI) meets in Chennai