Time to Tackle the Great Shore Leave Debate

August 15, 2017
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There is so much talk today about unmanned and autonomous ships, but they are still a long way off. However, for now and the foreseeable future seafarers are still going to be necessary for safe shipping. While there are different challenges for the future of seafaring, there are issues today which need addressing. One of the most pressing is how to make sure enough is being done to provide for existing seafarers when they manage to get ashore.

Understanding what seafarers need and want when they are on shore leave is one of the major challenges facing charities and welfare organisations today. Answers are needed, and the subject is set to be debated at a major international seminar.

For seafarers, it remains vital they can gain some respite from the challenges of life at sea. With issues such as fatigue, and concerns over mental and physical health, it seems that access to time ashore, rest, relaxation and recuperation are vital for today’s seafarers.

However, the face of shore welfare is changing, and the industry is asking tough questions about what can and should be provided, how it should be funded and of what modern seafarers actually want and need.

Having often been at sea for long periods of time, access to welfare services are vitally important for crews, and there are constant demands for services such as free WiFi and transport.

With so many challenges to face, and with seafarers at the forefront, what will the future of shore leave look like? Will there be unmanned centres, and are these the answer? What about access to healthcare, emotional support and will criminalisation of seafarers continue to impact welfare?

These key issues and many more will be discussed at the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network's (ISWAN) latest seminar on ports and seafarer welfare. The day-long event, held at the Thon Hotel in Central Rotterdam on Wednesday 29th November 2017 is open to organisations and individuals concerned with providing seafarers with the highest standard of port-based services and facilities.

Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN says, 'The event will explore some of the common challenges seafarers face in port and will look at effective strategies to overcome them. The event aims to highlight best practice from ports, shipping companies, and welfare workers, and to emphasise the importance of cooperation in protecting the welfare of seafarers in port. We are proud to have gathered so many key experts together, and hope the event provides much needed stimulus for debate and solutions.'

In line with ISWAN’s International Port Welfare Partnership Programme (IPWP), the seminar will also consider Port Welfare Committees, and discuss challenges to funding the future of seafarers’ welfare.

Presentations and speakers will include:

MLC 4 Years On: Developments in Seafarers' Access to Shore Based Services

  • Alternatives to Seafarer Centres – Kimberly Karlshoej, Consultant to the ITF Seafarers' Trust
  • Funding the Future of Seafarer Centres: Case Studies from North America – Jason Zuidema, Executive Director, NAMMA
  • Financial Support for Seafarers – Stuart Ostrow, President, Ship Money
  • Port Levies: A Case Study from the Port of Bremerhaven – Dr. Iven Kraemer, Head of Department for Port Economy and Shipping, Ministry for Economy, Labour and Ports of Bremen, and Werner Gerke, Port Chaplain of Deutsche Seemannsmission Bremerhaven
  • Engaging All Partners: International Port Welfare Partnership Project – Sharon Coveney, Deputy Director, MNWB

Protecting the Wellbeing of Seafarers in Port

  • Seafarers' Access to Healthcare in Ports – Jan Oltmanns, Director, International Seamen's Club DUCKDALBEN
  • Challenges to Seafarers' Welfare in Cruise Ship Ports – Lena Dyring, Asst. Director, Cruise Operations, Norwegian Seafarers' Union
  • Access to Communication in Port – Caitlin Vaughan, Project Manager, ISWAN
  • A Case Study: The Port of Rotterdam – Ingrid Romers, Senior Advisor, Harbour Master Division

Supporting Seafarers in Port

  • The Impact of Migrant Rescue Missions – Fr Bruno Ciceri, Chairman, ICMA
  • Illegal Cargo and the Criminalisation of Seafarers – Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Seafarers' Rights International
  • Bullying and Harassment – Toon van de Sande, Director, Spiritension

To register for this year’s Seminar, please click here.

The attendance fee will be £50 for members and £65 for non-members. For more information, please contact ISWAN’s Executive Director, Roger Harris.

ISWAN is an international charity dedicated to the relief of need, hardship or distress amongst seafarers of all nationalities, races, colour and creeds irrespective of gender.

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