At its heart, ISWAN is a membership organisation and we are proud to have a network of over 80 members who are committed to improving the lives of seafarers worldwide.
Our members reflect the diversity present in the shipping industry today, from shipping companies to unions and insurance groups to welfare organisations, and bring a wealth of experience.
This month, our Member of the Month is MF Shipping Group.
1. WHO are you?
MF Shipping Group is a Dutch-based shipping manager that operates a fleet of modern and diversified fleet of vessels, providing maritime transportation services worldwide. Founded in 1994, the company offers a range of services includes primarily:
- Technical management
- Crew management
- Health, safety and environment (HSE) Quality services
- Vetting services
- Financial management
- Project Management
The current fleet we manage includes chemical tankers ranging from 3.000 to 18.000 DWT, multi-purpose vessels, self-unloaders, cement carriers, a ROPAX and a RORO vessel. In the tanker segment we are regarded as one of the leading ship management in Europe. The tankers trade for the top 10 oil companies.
Our greatest strength is our no-nonsense mentality. We say what we do and we do what we say. Our people are directly accessible and internal communication lines are short. This 'personal touch' is what makes MF Shipping Group recognisable and distinctive. We are connected and caring for each other at all levels of cooperation – on board, in the office and with our (maritime) partners.
2. WHAT do you do and why is seafarers' welfare important to you?
We believe that caring for seafarers' welfare is crucial to ensure that they can work in a safe and healthy environment, which is essential for maintaining their physical and mental well-being.
Providing adequate access to medical care, comfortable living quarters and excellent means of communication (such as a good Wi-Fi connection) are essential components of seafarers' welfare. But we also consider it important to encourage social activities on board, such as gym, and celebrating events together. For example, if the vessel gets a good audit result, we treat the crew to a cake and the vessel is rewarded with a bonus to spend on social activities of their own choice.
Many years ago, based on the suicide of one of our young seafarers, we started with the ISWAN Mental Health Awareness course and also decided to introduce a free confidential helpline for our seafarers and their families.
At MF Shipping Group, we believe that investing in the welfare of seafarers is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. By prioritizing the well-being of our seafarers, we are ensuring that they can perform their jobs to the best of their ability and that they will continue to be valued colleagues. Also, we now have to create an attractive working environment for future generations of seafarers.
3. WHY are you a member of ISWAN?
Becoming a member of ISWAN was obvious. It is important for individual seafarers, maritime organizations and the whole maritime industry. For individual seafarers, ISWAN provides access to a wide range of services and support, emergency assistance, and training and development opportunities.
ISWAN is important for organizing projects that are essential for our seafarers. For example, we participated in the SIM Project (Social Interaction Matters) with our own Social Ambassadors. This program inspires and it saves a lot of time, because we don’t have to develop it ourselves. Above all, by joining ISWAN we can take a stand; together we can make a difference and achieve more in improving the conditions and reputation of our beautiful industry.
Therefore we are proud our CEO, Karin Orsel, expresses this in words and deeds by being Chair of ISWAN.