With teamwork between stakeholders in the maritime industry and key researchers in psychology and a comprehensive analysis of initial study interviews, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) publishes Version 2.0 of its Guidelines for Post-Piracy Care for Seafarers, downloadable on the tab labeled "Guidelines" here. This series of strategic plans, which provide a general structure for the care of seafarers impacted by piracy, supplants the “Preliminary” version of this document circulated in late January of this year. SCI publishes these Guidelines as part of a first-of-its-kind study to develop care strategies for those affected by piracy.
Events like SCI’s Roundtable in December 2009 and the May IMO Deliberation on Piracy provided feedback from the maritime industry, and meetings with other mental health professionals (like the one in which SCI participated at Australia’s Charles Darwin University in July of this year) gave psychologists involved in the care of seafarers opportunity for input. “From our interviews and recommendations,” says SCI’s Clinical Researcher Michael Stuart Garfinkle, Ph.D., “we have incorporated significant improvements into this version of the Guidelines.”
The Guidelines, published as part of SCI’s clinical Study, reflect part of the Institute’s offering of assistance to mariners, a legacy over 175 years old. Even older than the Institute (perhaps as old as maritime commerce itself, Garfinkle points out), the threat of piracy has long plagued the men and women responsible for safe transport of cargo. “We want to provide them,” says Garfinkle, “with an appropriate ‘mental health tool-belt,’ and address the fears they have while routinely sailing through high-risk areas.”
Garfinkle points out that although this version of the document is no longer labeled “preliminary,” SCI continues to examine the issues attentively. “The project’s continued success,” he says, “depends on open communication with members of the maritime industry, including shipowners, manning agencies, seafarers’ unions, and relevant governmental bodies.” Further to this codified version will come others as the interviews continue and the research progresses.
If you are a seafarer, or the family member of a seafarer, and would like to participate in this study by answering a few questions, contact SCI’s Clinical Researcher, Michael Stuart Garfinkle, Ph.D., at email@example.com
, +1 212-349-9090 ext. 240, or write the Center for Seafarers’ Rights at The Seamen’s Church Institute, 241 Water Street, New York, NY 10038-2016, USA. All responses held in the strictest confidence.