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Congratulations to the reciepients of the 2017 Merchant Navy Award 2017
Mr Andrew Armstrong, for services to seafarer training
Mr Anthony Cash, for services to seafarer welfare and the Merchant Navy Association
Captain Stephen Clinch, for services to the safety of ships and seafarers
Captain Geoffrey Cowap, for services to the careers of young seafarers
Mr Patrick Dolby, for services to international ship safety standards and seafarer welfare
Mr Allan Graveson, for services to seafarer training, welfare and safety
Captain Mark Holden, for services to the offshore maritime industry
Captain John Hughes, for services to environmental protection at sea
Mr Francis Kelly, for services to apprenticeships for ratings
Captain Charles Kelso, for services to the shipping industry and sea cadets
Lt CDR Mark Kemmis Betty, for services to the Merchant Navy and seafarer welfare
Captain Andrew O'Brian, for services to maritime careers and charity
Mr Francis O'Neill, for services to marine engineering
Mr Ian Spreadborough, for services to seafarer training and careers
Mr Stephen Todd, for services to seafarer employment, training and welfare
Captain Jamie Wilson, for services to the rescue of refugees in peril

Port of Tyne introduces welfare fund to support merchant shipping (added 11.09.17)
A new fund has been launched to help ships’ crew members who may need welfare support while visiting the Port of Tyne.  Over 100,000 seafarers arrive at the Port of Tyne each year.  The welfare, conditions and pay of seafarers varies greatly around the world. Some merchant ships can be at sea for nine months or more at any one time, meaning the crew are away from their families for long periods.

The Port of Tyne welfare fund has created an option for shipping lines to pay a voluntary levy each time one of their vessels come into Port. The Port of Tyne then matches the levy, contributing 50p for every £1 collected through the welfare fund. The optional levy is based on a vessel’s Gross Tonnage and ranges from £20 to £30 per ship, payable on the vessel’s first ten visits to the Port each calendar year.

In 2016 around £10,000 was raised by the Port of Tyne welfare fund and will be distributed to projects that support seafarers, via the Merchant Navy Welfare Board - providing funding to the principal welfare organisations that provide services to seafarers visiting the Tyne, including the Mission to Seafarers, Apostleship of the Sea and Fishermen’s Mission – all of which are dependent entirely on charitable donations. The Merchant Navy Welfare Board is now hoping to set up similar schemes in other UK ports.

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and introduce a scheme that provides practical help and support to the many ships’ crews who come in to our port. Targeted specifically for crew members who may need some support in a variety of ways, whether that is a phone call to contact their families, get some welfare advice or provide emergency care, we hope it will help to make a difference.”

Peter Tomlin, Merchant Navy Welfare Board Chief Executive, said: “With ships carrying over 90 per cent of the globe’s raw materials, commodities, and manufactured goods it is really important to the global economy to ensure the welfare of seafarers in ports around the world.
“The scheme introduced by the Port of Tyne will made a tangible difference to local charities in Tyneside that work hard to support seafarers in need.”

The Port of Tyne’s welfare fund will further enable visits to ships, legal support, translation and communication support, counselling, transport and emergency care.

Maritime agencies unite during London International Shipping Week to launch Seafarers' Welfare Partnership Progamme and debate fair shipping (added 08.09.17)

The International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) will officially launch its highly acclaimed International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) programme during London’s International Shipping Week at a formal Business Breakfast in the historic setting of Trinity House from 08:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday 13 September 2017. The IPWP programme is based on a small but highly impressive pilot project that ended in May 2016, having successfully established seafarers’ ‘welfare boards’ in Europe, Africa, Australia and America.  

As part of the same event the four maritime welfare charities that LISW17 is supporting have also organised a debate entitled ‘Fair Shipping: does it exist?’. The panelists are: 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.

Designed to bring together maritime leaders, the Business Breakfast will show how the IPWP programme, a joint initiative managed by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) on behalf of ISWAN, is driven by the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006, Regulation 4.4).  The MLC 2006 advocates the establishment of seafarers’ welfare boards to co-ordinate and improve “access to shore-based welfare services”, for the benefit of the seafarers’ workforce, worldwide. The MNWB has successfully operated welfare boards, also known as Port Welfare Committees (PWCs), for nearly 70 years and is keen to partner ISWAN to share best practice with the rest of the maritime sector. 

ISWAN Executive Director, Roger Harris, said “Despite increased public awareness that the shipping industry is vital to our daily lives and trade around the world, there’s still little understanding about the challenges facing seafarers.  Life at sea has always been hard but never more so than today. Separated from family and friends with ever smaller crews and shorter turnarounds, seafarers can often face isolation and loneliness, depression, harassment and bullying whilst at sea.” 

Peter Tomlin, Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and IPWP Programme Director, agreed saying “That’s why welfare facilities and services in port are so important for seafarers, providing a “home from home” where they can rest, recuperate and contact family and friends in a safe, welcoming environment.”

He added “We recognise the tremendous efforts made by the numerous organisations, particularly in the voluntary sector, that support seafarers’ welfare in ports.  We hope the truly collaborative and supportive nature of our partnership programme will enable the maritime community to work even closer together to improve welfare conditions for seafarers across the globe’

Funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, TK Foundation, Seafarers’ UK and MNWB, the programme boasts an Executive Committee made up of Ship owners, Unions, Port Authorities/Owners, Government, Maritime Funders and Voluntary Organisation representatives, all of whom are keen to promote better seafarers’ welfare in ports under MLC, 2006. It is therefore fitting that the IPWP launch is held in the presence of maritime decision makers and key stakeholders during LISW17. 


Hands of Love - Merchant Navy Commemoration - Saturday 2nd September (added 21.08.2017)

Our Port Horizon project has discovered that the ancestors of Southampton’s Black & Minority Communities in Southampton who were Merchant Navy seaman sacrificed a great deal during World War One & World War Two. Among their contributions, they ensured  vital wartime supplies and support from friendly nations reached Britain. These are the legacies of port cities like Southampton – but those stories are not often heard or shared.
Unity 101 Community Radio and the Port Horizon project have arranged a gathering to acknowledge the contributions of our forefathers in the British Merchant Navy and all the people from the Police, Fire and Ambulance The event is not a celebration of war, neither a replacement for Merchant Navy Day. It will be Southampton’s first BME, multi-faith, “thank you”.

 It will take place at Guildhall Square from 12.30pm, on Saturday 2nd September 2017. Complimentary food will be provided by four local faith groups. It is hoped people of all ethnicities and faiths will join us to commerate those we have lost and to say: “Thank you, you are not forgotten and we will not allow history to forget what you did, and share the hand of love.”

Running order for the event:

  • Events open – 12.30pm
  • Master of Ceremony – Sangeeta Barbara from ITV Meridian
  • Mayor of Southampton Councillor Les Harris
  • Deputy Lord Lieutenant  Rear Admiral Iain Henderson CB CBE DL
  • Merchant Navy Welfare Board former CEO David Parsons
  • Superintendent Alison Heydari from Hampshire Constabulary
  • Assistant Chief Officer Stew Adamson  from Hampshire Fire Rescue Service
  • John Richards, Chief Officer, Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Ravi Parmar – Chair of Southampton Council of Faiths
  • Common prayer  
  • Share Hand of Love with person next to you
  • Poem by Bob Purkis MBE
  • Share food donated by Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Muslim faiths
  • Close 2pm

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