MPHRP to continue Humanitarian Response

Maritime Piracy logoICMA welcomes the continuing commitment of all concerned in organising for the humanitarian response to the impact of piracy around the oceans of the world. From August 4th. in the UK – the boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are pleased to announce the moving of the activities of the MPHRP into ISWAN. A transfer agreement was signed by both parties on 3 August 2015. ISWAN will now be responsible for all the activities of the highly respected MPHRP.iswan

In the PRESS RELEASE this week  Roger Harris of ISWAN said ‘The move to ISWAN will enable the programme to develop under the auspices of a well-established international seafarers’ welfare organisation that is registered as a charity’.

ISWAN told us this week that ‘the programme will continue to support the seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy. While piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia have significantly decreased, attacks are on the increase in South East Asia and continuing in the Gulf of Guinea. The MPHRP programme will concentrate on these areas while still supporting seafarers who were held for years in Somalia. The programme will seek to develop constructive and positive relationships with existing and new industry partners.’

ISWAN has already appointed a new programme manager, Mr Tom Holmer, to lead the MPHRP in this new phase of its development. The programme in South Asia will continue while an immediate priority will be to secure funding to continue the programme in South East Asia and Eastern Europe.

Richard Kilgour: ICMA General Secretary said ‘the need for the humanitarian response to piracy is as vital as ever. We welcome this development in securing a base for MPHRP to continue to build upon this important work’.

DSM General Secretary meets with chaplains in Port of Antwerp

Recently the ecumenical chaplain group in the Port of Antwerp met with Heike Proske, General Secretary of the Deutsche Seemannsmission. A great time of sharing and encouragement!
From left: Oole Posselt (Welfare Work – Harbor Hotel Antwerp), Jos Vanhof (AoS), Dorothèe Kubiziel (volunteer DSM), Marc Schippers (Sailors Soc), Jörg Pfautsch (DSM), Heike Proske (DSM), Gérard Favre (volunteer AoS), Paul Wilms (volunteer DSM).
Missing from the photo (taken 23 June 2015): Jorgedi Bago (AoS, is taking the photo), Brian Milsson (MtS), Ulf Radziejewski (Swedish Seamenschurch), Jesper Ek (Swedish Seamen`s Service).
Good to see the ICMA network in action!

Winners of the 2015 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards Announced

The winners of the 2015 International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards were announced on Tuesday 9th June during a high profile ceremony hosted by Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, Mr Koji Sekimizu at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

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The winners are:
• Judges Special Award : Rev’d Ken Peters, Mission to Seafarers Director of Justice and Public Affairs
• Judges’ Posthumous Award: Mr Paul Karras, founder of Hunterlink Recovery Services
• Shipping Company of the Year: Eidesvik
• Port of the Year: Port of Halifax, Canada
• Seafarer Centre of the Year: Seafarers’ Centre Bremerhaven
• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (organisation): National Union of Seafarers of India
• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (individual): Chirag Bahri (MPHRP)

The Welfare Personality of the Year Award is named after Dr Dierk Lindemann who sadly passed away on 17 March 2014. Dr Lindemann served as the Shipowner’s Group spokesperson at the ILO and took a lead role in getting the Maritime Labour Convention adopted.

Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

For more information and photos, check out the ISWAN website.

Statement by German Seemannsmission concerning Mediterranean Migration Crisis

Stellungnahme der

Mitgliederversammlung der Deutschen Seemannsmission e.V.


Nie mehr über Kinderrucksäcke fahren

In der täglichen Arbeit begegnen den Mitarbeitenden der Deutschen Seemannsmission immer wieder Seeleute, die durch die Flüchtlingstragödien im Mittelmeer besonders belastet sind.

Die Mitgliederversammlung der Deutschen Seemannsmission fordert, die aktuelle Flüchtlingsproblematik im Mittelmeer nicht auf dem Rücken der Seeleute auszutragen.

Besatzungsmitglieder berichten von persönlichen Habseligkeiten und Leichen, die im Mittelmeer treiben. Immer wieder müssen sie Menschen von Flüchtlingsbooten bergen. Das ist für Seeleute eine selbstverständliche humanitäre Aufgabe. Sie werden meist beim Umgang mit diesen belastenden Erlebnissen und deren Verarbeitung alleine gelassen.

Inzwischen haben Seeleute der Handelsschifffahrt schon mehr als 5000 Flüchtlinge gerettet.

Die DSM fordert: „Seht, was die Seeleute im Mittelmeer tun!“ Viel zu oft werden sie mit unvorstellbaren Erlebnissen konfrontiert. Kaum einer nimmt das wahr. Ein Seemann sagte zu einer Mitarbeiterin der DSM: “Ich möchte nie mehr mit meinem Schiff über Kinderrucksäcke fahren müssen.“

Seeleute und die DSM stellen die Frage, warum bis zum heutigen Tag keine adäquate Antwort der Politik zur Todesfalle Mittelmeer gefunden wurde.


Heike Proske

Generalsekretärin der DSM

ILO Meeting of Experts Concerning Convention No. 185


This week the Rev. Ken Peters (MtS) and Mr. Douglas Stevenson (SCI), went to the International Labour Organization in Geneva to represent ICMA in further discussions about ILO 185. Below is the text of Mr. Stevenson’s statement:

International Labour Organization
Meeting of Experts concerning Convention No. 185
(Geneva 4-6 February 2015)
Statement by Douglas B. Stevenson

International Christian Maritime Organization
4 February 2015

Thank you Madam Chair for giving the International Christian Maritime Association to speak at this important meeting of experts. Congratulations on your election to the Chair.
The world’s economy and prosperity depends on merchant shipping and merchant shipping depends on seafarers.
According to UNCTAD there are 39,770 ships over 1,000 gross tons in the world’s merchant fleet. The fleet is expected to grow to 69,000 ships by the end of the decade. The need to recruit and retain enough skilled seafarers to operate the vessels needed to sustain commerce remains shipping’s biggest challenge. All of us who depend on shipping must help make seagoing careers attractive options for skilled men and women.
The MLC, 2006 and ILO-185 are designed to improve seafarers’ living and working conditions and, if widely implemented, will go a long way towards making seagoing careers attractive.
The MLC, 2006 recognizes the importance of seafarers’ shore leave and their having access to onshore seafarers’ welfare facilities and services. The International Christian Maritime Association’s 28 member organizations operating in 126 countries provide the vast majority of the onshore seafarers welfare facilities and services contemplated by the MLC, 2006.
ILO-185 provides the means to facilitate seafarers’ shore leave and access to onshore seafarers’ welfare facilities and services. The International Christian Maritime Association, therefore, strongly applauds and supports efforts by nations and social partners to develop measures that will encourage wider ratification and implementation of ILO-185.
An important feature of ILO-185 is Article 6, which provides for countries to allow shore leave to seafarers holding valid Seafarer Identity Documents – without their having to also have a visa.
One of the International Christian Maritime Association member organizations has, since 2002, conducted annual surveys of shore leave denials in the United States. According to the data collected in recent years by port chaplains in ports around the United States, about 10% of the foreign seafarers on ships arriving at United States ports were denied shore. Of the 10% who were denied shore leave, about 90% of them were denied shore leave because they did not have a visa. (The United States requires seafarers and aircrews to have a D-1 crewmember visa as a condition of entry.)
If anyone wants a copy of the most recent survey please let me or Ken Peters know.
Ratification of ILO-185 by the United States could certainly improve shore leave opportunities for seafarers in United States ports – provided that the seafarers have valid Seafarers Identity Documents.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, few nations have issued to their seafarers valid Seafarers’ Identity Documents that could serve as a substitute for a visa.
The International Christian Maritime Association is hopeful that this Meeting of Experts will recommend amendments to ILO-185 that will facilitate its implementation.
In addition to facilitating shore leave and access to onshore seafarers welfare facilities and services, ILO-185 has the potential to greatly enhance security for seafarers and shipping. ILO-185 Seafarer Identity Documents will verify that the holders are legitimate seafarers who are entitled to the recognition and respect they deserve.
ILO-185 Seafarers Identity Documents will also identify seafarers as vital members of maritime security teams ,and they will help protect them from others who might pose as seafarers to do them and others harm.
ILO-185 is a very important convention for seafarers. It has the potential to provide seafarers greater protection and recognition, and it will help make seagoing careers more attractive options for skilled men and women by facilitating their access to onshore welfare facilities and shore leave.
The International Christian Maritime Association is hopeful that this Meeting of Experts will recommend measures that will encourage more countries to ratify ILO-185 and enable countries to implement it without reducing security or seafarers’ protections.
The International Christian Maritime Association delegation is here to assist the Meeting of Experts in any way that it can.

ICMA Northern Europe Region is meeting in Helsinki

ICMA2013ICMA chaplains from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Poland and Germany are holding their regional conference in Helsinki/Finland these days. Yesterday a theological reflectionof the work and an introduction to cruise ships and cruise ship ministry was on the agenda. Today the focus is on MLC 2006 and a visit to the port of Tallin in Estonia.

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.



AOS speaks out on treatment of stranded fishermen

Maritime charity, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), has spoken out on the way seafarers and fishermen are treated when they run into problems with their UK visas.  These seafarers are never without the support of ICMA member, AoS Great Britain. 

AOS ChaplainRecently four foreign fishermen, two Filipino and two Indonesian, were stranded in Newcastle, UK , when the fishing boat they were working on hit financial difficulties. The ‘Starward’ was impounded due to the owner’s financial troubles.

The crew had not been paid salaries since March. This meant that they were not able to send money back home to their families in Indonesia and the Philippines, with one crew member relating how his children were going hungry. As the crew were only contracted to work on this particular vessel they were not able to transfer to another. Also, as they were working on transit visas, the UK Border Agency had them arrested in mid-June and they were taken to a detention centre.  They were subsequently transferred to a Heathrow detention centre where some of them remain.

Throughout this ordeal the crew have been helped and supported by the Apostleship of the Sea’s Tyne port chaplain, Paul Atkinson. Paul has provided practical and emotional support, working with the AoS national office to try to alleviate the men’s stress and ensure they are fairly treated.

Apostleship of the Sea National Director Martin Foley said,

‘The application of immigration rules to these men has taken no consideration of their circumstances. It is appalling that overseas fishing crews who are stranded in the UK through no fault of their own are treated like criminals and subjected to treatment that has demeaned and humiliated them.”