ICMA Professional Development

SMT 2010 and 2011 were held in Cape Town.

Seafarers’ Ministry Training (SMT) 2013 and 2014

As part of The International Christian Maritime Association’s Strategic Review, the content of its flagship education programme, SMT, is set to be revisited.  The course will be brought up to date to reflect changes in the industry and new challenges facing ministry providers.

To enable the overall shift of ICMA’s educational focus to professional development, SMT will not be presented in 2013.

The decision, taken by the Executive Committee, comes as part of the ongoing transformation of ICMA.  The Association’s Strategic Review will focus ICMA on the professional development of chaplains. A fully revised SMT is expected to be presented in 2015.

Further announcements on ICMA’s Professional Development for port chaplains will be made in due course.

ICMA’s Standing Committee on Professional Development  has been tasked to transform itself into a body that will encourage the professionalism of port chaplaincy.

The SMT is an annual educational programme presented by the members of 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.

The core modules of the training are

  • Pastoral care
  • Advocacy
  • Ecumenism
  • Intercultural communication

Please contact our General Secretary for further information on SMT and ICMA’s professional development programmes for port chaplains.

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ICMA invests in people

The members of the International Christian Maritime Association provide welfare services to seafarers and the maritime industry.  ICMA’s personnel are invaluable resources to the seafarers’ welfare sector.  Not only are we present in the remotest of locations for face to face interventions, we aim to set the bar for the best care to seafarers.  Our faith compels us to the highest levels of professionalism.  ICMA is evolving to put in place instruments that would better equip us to provide what seafarers need.

To uphold its quality of care ICMA invests in the development and training of chaplains and centre staff.  ICMA has designed training courses for its personnel that are innovative, fit for purpose and comprehensive in scope.

ICMA intends to collect more such training courses.  We encourage our 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.

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ICMA’s Committee for the Professional Development of Port Chaplaincy

ICMA has set up a committee that

  • Helps to assess the training needs of ICMA’s members
  • Helps to initiate the development of training material and learning experiences
  • Advises the Executive Committee on professional development of chaplains through educational programmes and training events
  • Oversees the ICMA’s accreditation and certification of courses and training material appropriate to seafarers’ ministry

For further information about ICMA professional development  or about financial support and scholarships for ICMA training, contact the ICMA general secretary. Click here for contact details of the ICMA Secretariat.

The Committee for the Professional Development of Port Chaplaincy evaluates training modules to ensure quality of both content and presentation.  Courses that comply with ICMA’s guidelines for accreditaion are given our seal of approval. ICMA then helps to stage approved courses: the Secretariat can help you to get grants and recruit students. The Guidelines attached here will explain to you how you could submit your own course modules for accreditation.

CLICK HERE for the Guidelines for ICMA accreditation.

For more information and personal assistance on developing your own training material for ICMA and having it accredited, contact any of the members of the Committee for Professional Development.


ICMA’s Training Portfolio

SMT in training

Port chaplaincy is a unique and specialised ministry.  ICMA provides training to support maritime ministry worldwide

Here is a portfolio of training modules available within ICMA.  ICMA members could use this portfolio to identify training courses or course modules that may fulfil your society’s need for further education.  You may then decide to

  • send your society’s chaplains to attend these courses when they are presented
  • or you may invite presenters of these courses or modules to teach at your society’s own training events

ICMA’s training portfolio consists of

  • Seafarers Ministry Training (SMT)
  • Sailing Chaplains Training
  • Ship Visiting Manual
  • Seafarers’ Advocacy for Maritime Ministries
  • Maritime Labour Convention
  • ICSW Ship Welfare Visitors Course
  • Crisis Preparedness
  • Pastoral care of people in trauma

Check the ICMA Events page for the dates when these training events will be held next.

Click here to download the ICMA training brochure for more information on these courses (PDF 1492 KB)


ICMA Accredited Courses

The following course has been accredited by ICMA:

  • Seafarers’ Environmental Education Workshop for Port Chaplains and Ship Visitors (SCI NY & NJ)



Seafarers Ministry Training (SMT)

Seafarers Ministry Training (SMT) is an annual training event.  ICMA members send recently appointed chaplains and port welfare providers to attend this introductory course.  Being newcomers to the ministry, the SMT guides students through an overview of the ministry and addresses those elements crucial  to new learners.  SMT lasts for 2 weeks. SMT is always addressed by specialist speakers from the industry, senior chaplains from the minsitry and learned professionals from theological schools. The primary modus operandi is groupwork, learning through sharing and practical tutorials. SMT focuses on the shore-based workplace and work experience of port chaplains. The student body is always constituted ecumenically and with global reach.  Seafarers Ministry Training was instituted in the 1990’s.  SMT continues to aid ICMA’s members in the professional development of port chaplains.

CLICK HERE for the Terms of Reference of the Seafarers Ministry Training.


 International Sailing Chaplains Training

Some ICMA members encourage chaplains to sail with seafarers on ships.  Our Nordic colleagues and the Apostleship of the Sea have been particularly successful in establishing ties with ferries, cruise liners and merchant vessels and regularly sail with these ships. The International Sailing Chaplains Training (ISCT) has been designed to prepare chaplains for life onboard.  The training has been designed and is usually hosted by the Finnish Seamen’s Mission. The ISCT lasts a fortnight.  It includes both practical safety training in simulated onboard conditions and classroom teaching on pastoral care.

CLICK HERE for the Terms of Reference of the International Sailing Chaplains Training.

Staff and sudents at the SMT in Rotterdam