The final report from the ICMA Regional Conference held in Odessa concludes with a set of statements by the delegates that underline the region’s commitment to caring for the welfare of seafarers.
The outgoing Regional Coordinator, AOS Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez Martos from Barcelona, Spain, wrote that the region was committed to pursue the following goals and priorities in delivering care to seafarers and families in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region of the international Christian Maritime Association.
- Port Welfare Committees: PWC’s are very important for achieving more efficient assistance to seafarers. The region’s chaplains would promote such committees in each port.
- Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme: In cases of emergency or of piracy, port authorities, ship owners and the ship’s agents should be aware of the important role that port chaplains can play in welfare response and first emergency response.
- ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
- Networking: Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
- Cruise ship ministry: Given that access to cruise ships is not easily gained, a short and simple directory of ports and welfare providers in the region would be produced and distributed among crews and crew coordinators on these ships.
- MLC 2006: ICMA centres should promote the ratification of MLC 2006 in those countries where it is not yet incorporated in national legislation, and are urged to collaborate in its implementation in all ports of the region.
- Ship visiting: Given the fast turnaround and workload while in port, many seafarers have no time to go ashore. Therefore, ICMA personnel should prioritise ship visiting
- Onboard welfare: Chaplains could facilitate groups on board that care for the welfare of fellow crew members. These groups could form informal welfare committees or prayer groups.
- Seafarers Rights: Chaplains are encouraged to engage advocacy for seafarers rights
This ICMA Regional Conference was made possible by a grant received from the ITF Seafarers Trust. ICMA thanks the Trust for its generous support.
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN MARITIME ASSOCIATION
The Mission of ICMA
Membership of ICMA carries an obligation to abide by the Constitution of the Association and of this Code of Conduct.
The seafarers of the world remind us of the ultimate purpose of all God’s plans:” And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24,14 NIV). In a fragmented and divided society, it is ICMA ’s mission to promote unity, peace and tolerance. ICMA was founded for promoting and co-ordinating Christian ecumenical co-operation in maritime ministry.
Chaplains and staff of all ICMA Member Societies at local, national and international level are therefore to:
- Show an unconditional love to the seafarer as a human being, created in the image of God, and a sincere respect for her/his personal values and beliefs;
- Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
- Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
- Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
- Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
- Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.