The new international seafarers' welfare organisation, ISWAN, marked its official launch at a reception on 17 April in London. ISWAN, which stands for the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network held a reception at the Commonwealth Club in London with Ms Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Organisation and Mr Jim Fitzpatrick MP, former UK Minister of Shipping as the guests of honour. Also attending were Mr Efthymios Mitropoulos, former General Secretary of the IMO, and Mr David Cockcroft, the General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation.
Nearly one hundred people attended the reception. Attendees included shipping companies, unions, and welfare organisations. The audience heard Ms Doumbia-Henry say that China and Indonesia were expected to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention this year. She also said that the world economic system could not operate without seafarers. Ms Doumbia-Henry congratulated ISWAN on its launch. Mr Hennie La Grange, Acting Chair of ISWAN, said that the new organisation will promote the ratification and implementation of the MLC. Other speakers included ISWAN staff member Chester Quintal who spoke about SeafarerHelp, the 24 hour helpline run by ISWAN.