Chaired by ISWAN Trustee Michael Pinto, ISWAN India’s Programme Steering Group met in Mumbai on 22 January to discuss the programme’s latest activities assisting seafarers and their families in the region.
These included ISWAN India’s current work providing support to 31 seafarers abandoned on various vessels in UAE and their families. The programme has secured grants from the Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF) and the Mission to Seafarers to provide financial assistance to the families, helping them to look after their basic survival needs. Some of the seafarers have been abandoned for almost three years and various international and regional bodies are working on resolving the ongoing issues.
The members deliberated on the draft schemes proposed by ISWAN to Seafarers’ Welfare Fund Society, which are currently under review by committee members of the society. The members also discussed the way forward after a meeting called by the Directorate General of Shipping in November 2018 on the establishment of Port Welfare Committees. They urged the Directorate General of Shipping to expedite the proposal to the Ministry of Shipping to issue a directive to Indian ports.
ISWAN’s Regional Director in South Asia, Chirag Bahri, presented a report to the members in which he highlighted the rise in piracy and armed robbery incidents in 2018 compared with the previous year as per the latest International Maritime Bureau report. He stressed that seafarers should not be complacent while transiting through piracy affected waters. The members were also briefed on the ISWAN’s mental health awareness programme – ISWAN’s Good Mental Health Guides are now distributed to seafarers via seafarers’ centres, shipping companies and various other platforms. The guides aim to improve awareness on the subject of mental health, build up resilience and provide tools and skills for seafarers to cope with stress and fatigue at sea.
ISWAN India is thankful to all the members of the Programme Steering Group, the Directorate General of Shipping (India) and the funders for their valuable guidance and support.