On September 9, the Director of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Center for Seafarers’ Rights, Douglas B. Stevenson, reported on the progress of SCI’s ongoing study of the effects of piracy on mariners, presenting the newly published Guidelines (ver. 2.0) to a Seafarers’ Welfare Forum in Melbourne, Australia. Sponsored by the Australian government’s Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the meeting assembled approximately 65 delegates from seafarer welfare agencies, port corporations, and the shipping industry to address the importance of seafarers’ welfare and the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
Stevenson says that this recent meeting substantiated for him the need for wider distribution of SCI’s recently published Guidelines, which provide a general structure for the care of seafarers impacted by piracy based on data gathered from SCI’s Study. He reported that two ship visitors in the audience of his morning presentation were the first to react to a ship captured by pirates. After Russian special forces freed the crew of the M/V Moscow University, he says, “The ship visitors in Australia were the first ones to ask the crew how they were doing!”
Chaplains and ship visitors—like the ones employed by SCI—meet crews of cargo vessels entering international ports every day. Often the first point-of-contact in port, these persons greet seafarers after lengthy days on dangerous waters and help them conduct important tasks (like calling home or sending money to family members) during a very short time ashore. Stevenson notes the importance of equipping skilled chaplains and ship visitors with the latest research, sharing the resources available on the study of piracy’s effects on mariners.
SCI makes available its Guidelines online, and encourages their wide distribution. To view, download, and to read more about SCI’s Piracy Study, click here.
to access Stevenson’s presentation and other papers presented at the 2010 Forum.