Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whether Crewing a Container Vessel or Serving on a Bulk Tanker Help is at Hand

Union Backed Trust Spends More to Aid Piracy Victims and Seafarers in Trouble
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The Seafarers Trust is a charitable body set up by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in 1981 dedicated to the spiritual, moral and physical welfare of seafarers, irrespective of nationality, race or creed no matter whether they serve in the container shipping sector, a bulk tanker or on an inter island passenger ferry. Just in the past two years the Trust has donated over £11 million to many different causes for seafarers’ welfare, around $200 million since its inception. This week the Trust announced its plans for the coming year, including a review of its operations, the provision of £1 million in grants, and ongoing provision for seafarers suffering from piracy.

The £1 million grant allocation for 2013 is in addition to ongoing grants to bodies such as Seafarers’ Rights International. A new grant was agreed during a meeting of the trustees amounting to £278,000 for 16 small grant applications, mainly for vehicles and equipment for port based welfare. The Seafarers’ Trust is further supporting the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program (MPHRP) by seconding its assistant administrative officer Roy Paul, at the expense of the Trust, to the post of full time MPHRP programme director for the next two years. Efthimios Mitropoulos, secretary-general emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), became in 2012 the patron of the Seafarers’ Trust and this was the first trustees’ meeting that he has attended. He said:

“I consider the aims of the Trust, to make seafarers healthier, less isolated, better represented and better connected with their loved ones, noble and worth pursuing and I will do anything I can to add my contribution to achieving them.”

The Seafarers’ Trust is entering a one year period of review of its operations. During this time it will be under the interim management of veteran seafarer and trade unionist John McLeod, who will stand in for Tom Holmer, who is leaving the Trust at the end of this year to return to higher education. ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton commented:

“The work of the Seafarers’ Trust is something we are very proud of at the ITF. We are delighted to see it continuing to make a real difference to seafarers’ lives, and we are confident that it will emerge from this review period even stronger and more effective than it is now. 2013 is the year when the MLC 2006 comes into force, and the Trust provides funding to assist with the practical implementation of the enhanced requirements for seafarers’ welfare within the convention.”

Commenting on his full time secondment to the MPRHP, Roy Paul said:

“We as the Seafarers’ Trust can offer more than just funds, and the opportunity is here to support the industry in real terms with its care of seafarers who have been affected by armed robbery and pirate attacks. The MPRHP, officially launched in September 2011 and funded initially by the ITF Seafarers Trust and the TK Foundation, has established a high degree of credibility and successfully highlighted the need to provide seafarers and their families with appropriate care, guidance and training to survive a piracy/armed robbery incident. The MPHRP is now recognised as one of the, if not the, leading bodies ensuring that the humanitarian aspects and the effects on seafarers and families are included in the principal international discussions on maritime piracy.”