Thursday, June 11, 2015

ISWAN Awards Honour All That's Best About Merchant Shipping

International Maritime Organization HQ is Scene for 2015 Announcements
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was the scene for this weeks 2015 International Seafarers' Welfare (ISWAN) Awards, funded by a grant from the ITF Seafarers' Trust and this year additionally headline sponsored by Inmarsat. The award ceremony was hosted by Secretary General of the IMO, Mr Koji Sekimizu, and, at an event dedicated to honouring organisations and individuals which have excelled at providing assistance to the merchant marine maritime community, Mr Sekimizu said:

“[The awards are] an excellent initiative to recognize excellence in the provision of welfare facilities and services for seafarers all over the world. I hope these awards will raise the profile of seafarers' welfare and encourage others to examine and improve their performance".

This year’s winners are:

• Judges' Special Award : Rev'd Ken Peters, Mission to Seafarers Director of Justice and Public Affairs

• Judges' Posthumous Award: Mr Paul Karras, founder of Hunterlink Recovery Services

• Shipping Company of the Year: Eidesvik

• Port of the Year: Port of Halifax, Canada

• Seafarer Centre of the Year: Seafarers' Centre Bremerhaven, Germany

• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (organisation): National Union of Seafarers of India

• Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year Award (individual): Chirag Bahri (MPHRP)

The Welfare Personality of the Year Awards are named after Dr Dierk Lindemann who sadly passed away on 17 March 2014. Dr Lindemann served as the Shipowner's Group spokesperson at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and took a leading role in getting the Maritime Labour Convention adopted. Winner of the Judges’ Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers, Ken Peters, said:

“I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive a Judges Special Award from the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network. I am especially pleased that two of the awards are named after the late Dr Dierk Lindemann. He was a personal friend of mine and I worked with him for many years. I remember the work Dierk did to bring to fruition the MLC 2006 whilst serving as MD of the German Ship owners’ Association and Ship Owners’ Group spokesperson at the ILO from 1976-2006.

“In all of my thirty six years with The Mission to Seafarers the MLC is the most significant convention for the wellbeing of seafarers addressing their living and working conditions. One of the Mission’s key strategic objectives is to 'champion seafarers who have suffered due to injustice and mistreatment’ and the Mission continues to be an ardent and persuasive advocate for seafarers at the IMO and ILO, championing their well-being. Our port chaplaincy teams and loyal ship-visiting volunteers around the world look after seafarers and their families in need every day. Last year our welfare case work increased by 7% with around 3,000 cases being managed in 2014.

“There is more we all need to do to ensure justice for seafarers. Thank you to the judges and ISWAN for this great honour which is in fact an honour to all The Mission to Seafarers’ supporters, volunteers, chaplains and staff; and so I accept this on behalf of The Mission to Seafarers.”

Another sadly missed figure was Paul Karras who died earlier this year having established Hunterlink in 2010 and with the support of union, employers and the community expanded it to provide round the clock assistance for any sailor in Australian waters.

Other sponsors of the awards were: Garrets (Shipping Company of the Year), Wrist Ship Supply (Seafarer Centre of the Year) and ICS (Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year - organisation and individual) whilst Crewtoo is the media sponsor of the awards. The awards are also supported and endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).