MARITIME AGENCIES UNITE DURING LONDON SHIPPING WEEK TO LAUNCH SEAFARERS’ WELFARE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMME AND DEBATE FAIR SHIPPING
The International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) will officially launch its highly acclaimed International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) programme during London’s International Shipping Week at a formal Business Breakfast in the historic setting of Trinity House from 08:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday 13 September 2017. The IPWP programme is based on a small but highly impressive pilot project that ended in May 2016, having successfully established seafarers’ ‘welfare boards’ in Europe, Africa, Australia and America.
As part of the same event the four maritime welfare charities that LISW17 is supporting have also organised a debate entitled ‘Fair Shipping: does it exist?’. The panelists are: Tom Holmer of ISS, Nicola Good of Fairplay Magazine, Natalie Shaw of ICS, Andrew Wright of Mission to Seafarers, Kuba Syzmanski of Intermanager and Phil Parry of Spinnaker International.
Designed to bring together maritime leaders, the Business Breakfast will show how the IPWP programme, a joint initiative managed by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) on behalf of ISWAN, is driven by the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006, Regulation 4.4). The MLC 2006 advocates the establishment of seafarers’ welfare boards to co-ordinate and improve “access to shore-based welfare services”, for the benefit of the seafarers’ workforce, worldwide. The MNWB has successfully operated welfare boards, also known as Port Welfare Committees (PWCs), for nearly 70 years and is keen to partner ISWAN to share best practice with the rest of the maritime sector.
ISWAN Executive Director, Roger Harris, said “Despite increased public awareness that the shipping industry is vital to our daily lives and trade around the world, there’s still little understanding about the challenges facing seafarers. Life at sea has always been hard but never more so than today. Separated from family and friends with ever smaller crews and shorter turnarounds, seafarers can often face isolation and loneliness, depression, harassment and bullying whilst at sea.”
Peter Tomlin, Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and IPWP Programme Director, agreed saying “That’s why welfare facilities and services in port are so important for seafarers, providing a “home from home” where they can rest, recuperate and contact family and friends in a safe, welcoming environment.”
He added “We recognise the tremendous efforts made by the numerous organisations, particularly in the voluntary sector, that support seafarers’ welfare in ports. We hope the truly collaborative and supportive nature of our partnership programme will enable the maritime community to work even closer together to improve welfare conditions for seafarers across the globe’
Funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, TK Foundation, Seafarers’ UK and MNWB, the programme boasts an Executive Committee made up of Ship owners, Unions, Port Authorities/Owners, Government, Maritime Funders and Voluntary Organisation representatives, all of whom are keen to promote better seafarers’ welfare in ports under MLC, 2006. It is therefore fitting that the IPWP launch is held in the presence of maritime decision makers and key stakeholders during LISW17.