Piracy continues to threaten the lives of seafarers.
So much is being said about the threat that piracy poses to international security, trade and the global economy. Far too little is being done for the seafarers who are the immediate victims of piracy.
Douglas Stevenson from the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey writes:
“…piracy represents a crime against humanity. It is condemned by the international community of nations and any nation has jurisdiction to bring pirates to justice.”
What can you do in support of seafarers who have been traumatized by piracy?
In 2008, ICMA members were encouraged by the ICMA Annual General Meeting held in Hong Kong to voice our concern for the victims of piracy. Be sure to look again at the resolution of the ICMA-AGM on this issue.
The Secretary General of the United Nations has cited ICMA’s resolution on piracy in a report to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation.
ICMA chairman, Douglas B. Stevenson, addressed the Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea last June at UN Headquarters in New York. Douglas Stevenson called attention to the need to provide for seafarers who have been affected by piracy. He highlighted the ICMA resolution in his speech, and provided copies to the delegates and the UN Secretariat.
The General Secretary of ICMA, Rev Hennie la Grange, invites the managers of seafarers’ centres to participate in a joint initiative with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust
For many years the seafarers’ welfare sector concentrated on providing facilities to meet the needs of seafarers. Seafarers’ centres were safe havens of hospitality, conveniently providing both services and care in one place. They were designed to be ‘homes from home’ for itinerant seafarers. The International Christian Maritime Association is proud to have been associated with this commitment to excellence in care-giving.
ICMA acknowledges that the seafarers’ welfare sector is an evolving environment. One of the challenges to the sector is the growing reluctance of traditional funders to invest in new centres. At the same time, it is increasingly difficult to maintain existing centres and sustain services. The bottom line is this: seafarers’ centres are expensive. Recently several centres have closed or are at risk.
Representatives from several of the world’s seafarers’ centres gathered in Hong Kong.
ICMA invited these centres to workshop the crucial factors and best practice that make seafarers’ centres successful. It was hoped that the outcome of the workshop would be a toolkit for all seafarers’ centres. A set of instruments, documents and a narrative report of the workshop will soon be published on the ICMA website.
The two seafarers’ centres in Hong Kong co-hosted the workshop. Delegates were accommodated at the Mission to Seafarers’ Mariners Club in Hong Kong, and were treated to the hospitality of Reverends Martina Platte and Peter Ellis.
The ITF Seafarers’ Trust made the workshop possible with a generous grant, and assisted by allowing Roy Paul to co-present the event.