An update from the International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) programme (2020)

November 23, 2020
Port 11

The International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) programme is an ISWAN project managed by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB). It aims to encourage and support the establishment of welfare boards worldwide. Here is an update on the programme for 2020:

Canada forms National Seafarers’ Welfare Board

As you are no doubt aware, the pandemic has unfortunately placed additional hardships on seafarers and their families, so this kind of crisis illustrates the need for collaborative working and co-ordinated planning, especially during rare port visits.

In July, our Project Manager Sharon Coveney attended several remote meetings and provided support to the Vancouver maritime community to help facilitate the establishment of a welfare committee.

So, the IPWP team were delighted to learn that the Canada’s Seafarers’ Welfare Board has also been formed to act as a forum for co-ordinating seafarer welfare in Canada. It will also promote maritime works, access to recreational, cultural and medical services, as well as shore-based welfare facilities.

Congratulations to IPWP Excom member Jason Zuidema (ICMA) for the key role he played in the establishment of Canada’s Seafarers’ Welfare Board.

For more information about the new national Board and what this will mean for seafarers in the area please click here.

Seafarers Delivering Christmas Campaign 2020

The MNWB and the IPWP programme are pleased to be part of a joint maritime industry initiative entitled ‘Seafarers Delivering Christmas Campaign’.

The campaign is aimed at making sure seafarers’ aren’t forgotten this Christmas, especially as they’ve had to deal with both the COVID-19 pandemic and crew change crisis.

By using the hashtag #SeafarersDeliveringChristmas, the shipping industry has developed a range of initiatives, including a flyer detailing exactly how companies/organisations and individuals can assist the worlds’ seafarers as well as a Christmas singalong video based on The 12 Days of Christmas, which can found here.

We would be very grateful if you could please promote the campaign within your own organisation.

ABP Humber supports Port Welfare Committee

ABP Humber have become a supporter of the IPWP Programme and the new software with a donation of £10,000. They recognised the value of a mentally & physically fit crew and wanted to support any initiative that would further our shared goals.

South African PWCs go from strength to strength

On 27 October 2020, Deputy CE Sharon Coveney chaired the Durban PWC's AGM which took place online via Zoom. The PWC, which was set up back in May 2019, discussed ways of helping seafarers during these difficult times within their own national restrictions and how to achieve this.

Sharon also attended the Richards Bay AGM remotely. Both of these PWCs have worked hard not to lose their momentum during the past year, despite seafarer centres being temporarily closed.

Farewell IPWP, hello Port Visitor IT platform

We are now in the testing phase of the new sector wide Port Visitor platform that will replace with effect from 8th December. The go live of the new software platform and formal launch will be in 2021.

Port Visitor is a maritime industry wide programme to support the development of seafarers’ welfare in ports globally. Under the auspices of ILO MLC 2006, Port Visitor provides the platform to bring the maritime sector together, forming welfare boards a.k.a. Port Welfare Committees (PWCs) to support and improve seafarers access to shore-based welfare facilities. To achieve this Port Visitor supports front line welfare providers, helps port communities review and report on services, collates feedback and ultimately provides seafarers with the information necessary to enhance their quality of life.

If you want to be involved in the Beta Trial visit

Maritime charities rally to support seafarers’ centres during COVID-19

With the global Coronavirus pandemic affecting almost every country in the world, we have seen the majority of seafarers' centres closed and welfare organisations having to curtail their activities to fit in with local guidance. National lockdowns, port restrictions and new social distancing measures have meant that seafarers have not been able to leave ships when in port, crew changes have been cancelled or delayed and ship visiting (where still allowed) has also had to be done in new ways.

The seafarers' welfare organisations have also seen a drop in their funding, as most of them rely on public donations to meet their running costs. This is where the maritime charity sector is trying to support front-line services to make sure that centres are still there when things return to normal.

ITF Seafarers' Trust, TK Foundation and Seafarers UK (UK & Commonwealth) are three charitable organisations doing just that. They have set up dedicated funds to help maintain seafarers' welfare services where they are in difficulty due to the pandemic and the economic challenges that it has brought to many organisations.

The ISWAN IPWP programme is managed by the MNWB and has a maritime sector-wide Executive Committee (Chaired by ISWAN) that consists of representatives from Govt., Shipowners, Unions, Port Owners/Authorities, Voluntary Organisations/NGOs and is generously funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Seafarers UK, The TK Foundation and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.

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