Tag Archives: MLC2006

Regional Conference commits to priorities for ministry

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
  4. Networking:  Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

CLICK HERE for the full report from the Regional Conference





 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:

  1. 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;
  2. Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
  3. Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
  4. Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
  5. Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
  6. Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.


CLICK HERE for a printable version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

CLICK HERE for the French version of the ICMA Code of Conduct


August 20, 2013

The countdown to  implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006  (MLC2006) is drawing to a close.  The implementation date is August 20th, 2013.

Douglas B. Stevenson, Chairman if ICMA and Director of the New York based Center for Seafarers Rights of ICMA member the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, addressed the ICMA Regional Conference in Odessa on the imminent implementation of  MLC2006.   “The MLC2006 is in the best interest of both seafarers and owners,” he said.

Maritime Law predates Christianity.  Laws were made that awarded remarkably favourable rights to seafarers.  At the time, seafaring in the Mediterranean was both an adventurous and risky enterprise, much like present day space explorers. At the time it was in the interest of owners to get the best people.  To do so competitively, they needed to take exceptional care of their crews.  Recruitment and retention was as important then as it is now.  MLC2006 is still in the best interest of owners, as much as it to the benefit of seafarers themselves.

The MLC is an agreement by consensus between ship owners, unions and 85 nations, to work together for the benefit of all in the industry.

MLC will come into affect only for the countries that have ratified it.  It will apply only to those countries that have ratified the Convention, and on their flagged ships.  Port states that have ratified MLC will commence inspections in terms of MLC2006 on ships entering their ports from August 20th.

Stevenson went on to explain to chaplains the structure and finer details of the Convention, leading to a lively discussion.  He urged countries, especially labour supplying countries like the Ukraine, to ratify the Convention.  Ratification will help their citizens to find seafaring employment. Countries represented at the Conference that have ratified the MLC include Morocco, Spain and France.

The MLC2006 strongly encouraged Port Welfare Committees.  But port states were not obliged to pay for shore-based welfare facilities.

It is a requirement of the Convention that an onboard complaints procedure be put in place. If seafarers file a complaint they have the right to be supported.  It may happen that seafarers ask chaplains to accompany them on such occasions.

Stevenson offered ICMA’s personnel the services of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights for advice on implementation and compliance and assistance in resolving problems in collaboration with flag states, if required.  He referred to “the miracle of ICMA” as a network of organisations that have no obligation to cooperate, yet they do: every port chaplain has, through the ICMA online directory,  access to a worldwide network of professional support to refer to for follow up.  Chaplains should make every effort to work with port state inspections.  In addition, IMO’s website has a directory of officials responsible for flag state compliance