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The MNWB is extremely pleased to announce that volunteer Alexe Finlay, who has given outstanding support to seafarers’ welfare on the Tees for nearly 30 years, has been unanimously selected as the winner of this year’s Annual Awards for Services to Seafarers' Welfare 2017. 
Since arriving on the Tees area in 1989, Alexe Finlay’s contribution to the maritime sector, particularly as a seafarers’ welfare volunteer, has been exceptional. 
Passionate and dedicated, Alexe has acted as a proactive member, Secretary, Vice Chair or Chair of a plethora of maritime community bodies - Tees and Hartlepool Port Users' Association, Mission to Seafarers (North and South Tees), RNLI Teesmouth Station, German Seamen’s Mission and the MNWB Tees Port Welfare Committee. However she is also a ‘hands on’ person who is seen regularly in the Seafarers’ Centre, serving behind the bar, driving the minibus and organising volunteer staff rotas so that the Tees’ centres remain open.
Alexe fully utilises her excellent communication skills and resilient, resourceful and resolute nature, being calm under pressure, dependable and reliable, able to instil confidence and inspire others to follow her example of clear thinking and sharp focus. Alèxe is a person who treats others with dignity and respect, never asking of anyone what she herself would not do. 
The catalyst for positive change, Alexe - through the Port User Group - has further developed and encouraged the port levy system, which has been in operation on the Tees for some 40 years. Therefore, the four welfare organisations each receive a regular, monthly revenue stream, with monies collected from each vessel visiting the Tees. This model of port levy has become a benchmark for other ports, recognised by the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).  
This encapsulates Alexe’s way of thinking, constantly seeking to achieve a completely integrated system where the river works as a whole; a model where port safety and security is ring fenced and the diverse needs of visiting vessels and seafarers are understood. Her influence has ensured that the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code has been implemented in a way that does not marginalise seafarers wishing to come ashore. Her impact in this respect has been pivotal in the way in which seafarers are treated.
Her contribution to marine industry on Teesside has been innovative, steadfast and trusted for over nearly three decades.  She has also been involved in setting national UK standards for integrated emergency response; oil pollution prevention; port waste; training for harbour masters and pilots; vessel traffic management systems; marine safety compliance.
With Alexe’s assistance, the MNWB Tees Port Welfare Committee has developed from a disparate group of people meeting quarterly, to a team of professionals using skills and expertise to review and support ‘front line’ welfare provision, problem solve and ultimately enhance seafarers’ quality of life.  
The award will be presented to Alexe at the MNWB PWC Conference on 29 November 2017. The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank its constituent members for nominating such a worthy group of candidates.
2017 Recipients of the Merchant Medal for Meritorious Service (added 26.09.17)

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.


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