Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Port Levy Should be Universal to Support Passenger and Freight Shipping Seafarers Welfare

Best Practice Report Published to Encourage Global Equivalence
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The standard of support offered to seafarers who are in difficulties varies tremendously according to where they are when the problems occur and now the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has issued a report detailing best practice in establishing and operating a port levy scheme in all ports around the world to even out care and assistance for those from freight and passenger vessels who are suffering. Despite the effort made by many shipping lines to contribute much remains to be done. Speaking at the ISWAN seminar on port levies and seafarers’ welfare Ben Bailey, Public Affairs Manager, from The Mission to Seafarers said:

“Port levies are vital in sustaining local services, because they provide a minimum level of financial security. It is also important to note, that over 70% of port welfare funding comes from national state welfare initiatives where it exists, and the charity and voluntary sectors. The Mission to Seafarers relies entirely on voluntary donations and we would call on the shipping industry to give due consideration to supporting local port welfare committees with funding for welfare services through port levies.”

Mr Bailey points out that the disparity of support across the world makes it a lottery as to the levels of help which are available. At the Mission in South Africa’s Saldanha Bay a contribution of just $40 per vessel fully funds local essential transport links and centre maintenance. This contrasts sharply with other amongst the Mission’s one hundred and twenty one seafarers’ centres such as Halifax, Nova Scotia where the port levy contributes a mere 7% of the running costs. The ISWAN report was prepared by Dr Olivia Swift, Research Associate at the Greenwich Maritime Institute and sponsored by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Seafarers Trust.

Upon the release of the report the Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, Andrew Wright, thanked all ships agents and leaders of the shipping industry who were championing the establishment of port levies to support the cause and commenting:

“ISWAN has made a series of sensible recommendations following the publication of their research, including a call for a quality standards system for welfare provision and gathering regular feedback from seafarers themselves. The Mission is currently reviewing our ports welfare provision in our five year Global Review and we have already implemented a Seafarers’ Satisfaction Survey in 2013 to further support this work.”

The ‘Port Levies and Sustainable Welfare for Seafarers’ report can be downloaded from a link HERE.