ILO Helps Launch Programme Supporting Seafarers’ Welfare in Ports

September 27, 2017
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The maritime community turned out in force to support the launch of our International Port Welfare Partnership Programme (IPWP), which took place in Trinity House during London International Shipping Week 2017.

Over 90 representatives from across the maritime industry attended the launch event, which was followed by a lively and informative panel debate entitled ‘Fair Shipping – Does it Really Exist?’. The debate was chaired by Stuart Rivers of Sailors’ Society with a panel made up of Tom Holmer of ISS, Nicola Good of Fairplay Magazine, Natalie Shaw of ICS, Andrew Wright of Mission to Seafarers, Kuba Syzmanski of Intermanager and Phil Parry of Spinnaker International.

The ISWAN IPWP programme aims to support the establishment of welfare boards which, according to MLC,2006 “shall regularly review welfare facilities and services to ensure that they are appropriate in the light of changes in the needs of seafarers resulting from technical, operational and other developments in the shipping industry”.

The programme is match funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, TK Foundation, Seafarers’ UK and Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) with an Executive Committee made up of Ship owners, Unions, Port Authorities/Owners, Government, Maritime Funders and Voluntary Organisation representatives, all keen to promote better seafarers’ welfare in ports.

Brandt Wagner of ILO stated ‘The ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended, among other things, calls for States to promote the development of welfare facilities in designated ports in order to provide all seafarers with access to adequate welfare facilities and services.’ He added ‘We recognise that the great bulk of the current work to provide seafarers’ welfare is done by those who, every day, operate seafarers’ welfare centres, hotlines, and by other means assist seafarers.’Mr. Wagner was particularly pleased to note that IPWP funding and governance reflected the spirit of tripartism and social dialogue so central to the work of the ILO, and he was honoured to be invited to declare the ISWAN partnership programme officially started.

ISWAN Executive Director, Roger Harris, said ‘The IPWP programme opens a new phase of ISWAN’s work and we are looking forward to bringing the maritime community together to better support organisations that provide seafarers welfare in ports, worldwide.’

Peter Tomlin, Chief Executive of MNWB, who are project managing the programme on behalf of ISWAN, added ‘Good working practice and common sense dictates that seafarers visiting ports should be able to enjoy their limited time off ashore in a safe and welcoming environment. Whilst this is true of nearly 500 ports, there are many other ports where common sense is not yet common practice and our IPWP programme aims to help the maritime sector address the situation’

Further details of the IPWP can be found at:

ISWAN is holding a day long seminar in Rotterdam on 29th November on Ports and Seafarers' Welfare, where many of the challenges to supporting seafarers in ports will be discussed. See here for more information and to register.

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