The New Year puts new technology into the hands of chaplains and ship visitors amongst ICMA member organisations world wide. January saw several users across the world begin to trial the new facility.
Representatives of Sailors’ Society, Mission to Seafarers met with ICMA General Secretary Richard Kilgour in London to endorse the new arrangement.
The ‘Ship Visitor’ app will enable 28 chaplaincy organisations to deliver more effective care and support to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers. Sailors’ Society has licensed a version of its Chapplaincy smartphone technology to ICMA, enabling all 28 members to share the digital platform transforming port to port welfare.
The ‘Ship Visitor’ app will enable maritime chaplaincy organisations across the world to deliver improved services to seafarers and to better measure the impact of their work. Revd. Richard Kilgour, General Secretary of ICMA, said: “ICMA is mindful of the immense importance of this development, which strengthens our international collaborative relationships as seafarer societies. Brought about by Sailors’ Society, this initiative will empower those in front line ministry to bring immense benefit for the well-being of seafarers and is warmly welcomed by our 28 member organisations operating seafarer ministry in ports worldwide.”
Developed with the support of MarineTraffic, the ‘Ship Visitor’ app enables real-time activity reporting and maintains a history of ship visits and support provided to seafarers. Data can then be accessed by chaplains in other ports and, subject to confidentiality and data protection policies, can be used to provide ongoing care and assistance as ship and crew continue their voyage.
Sandra Welch, Sailors’ Society director of programme, said: “We’re really pleased to share this unique platform with our fellow welfare organisations and look forward to seeing the positive impact this collaboration will have on the seafarers we all care for. Our chaplains and ship visitors are better able to quickly respond to a seafarer’s need and, with better communication and data, we hope to faster identify welfare issues.”
The ’Ship Visitor’ app is enabled by access to global ship tracking data from MarineTraffic, which helps chaplains see which vessels are in port and those due to arrive. The result is more effective use of time and improved coordination with other welfare organisations.
Demitris Memos, managing director at MarineTraffic: “We are very happy that the app has proved its usefulness in such a short space of time and that the technology is being licensed to ICMA. We will continue to develop our systems and expand our global Automatic Identification System (AIS) network to provide top quality data to the app and look forward to hearing more about the benefits it brings to seafarers.”
In addition to producing the ‘Ship Visitor’ app, Sailors’ Society is currently developing a version for seafarers, planned for release in Spring 2016, which will enable seafarers to make contact in advance of arrival at port in order to access welfare services.