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Gibraltar Supports Syrian Crew (added 27.02.17)

On 17th September 2016, after a total of 56 days at sea, large Push Tug ‘Dios’ & Barge ‘Diosa’ arrived in Gibraltar for provisions. The Panamanian flagged vessel with a Syrian, Egyptian and Somali crew had sailed from Gabon, West Africa.  On arrival, Port State control identified a significant number of deficiencies making the vessel unseaworthy.  Furthermore, one member of the crew was sick and had not been able to see a doctor. As a result, Gibraltar Maritime Administration (GMA) detained the vessel and on further investigation identified the fact that the crew had not been paid for months.
Gibraltar Seafarers’ Welfare Board (GSWB) Chairman and Welfare Board Manager visit remaining Syria crewmembersThe GMA immediately informed Gibraltar Seafarers’ Welfare Board (GSWB) members and trained ship welfare visitors attended the vessel to provide welfare support to the individual seafarers.

Jose M. Ortega, ITF National Co-ordinator Spain, stated “At the request of Rob Cumbes, Chief Surveyor of GMA, I inspected the vessel with Patrick Sellhorn Panama Flag State Inspector on November 4th 2017.”

The sensitive political situation surrounding nationalities coupled with the war in Syria compounded crew issues, however, ITF worked hard to recover unpaid wages and helped repatriate the majority of the crew.

Only a skeleton crew of Syrian seafarers now remain on board and they receive regular visits from GSWB member organisations, in particular Apostleship of the Sea and Mission to Seafarers volunteers. They are provided with free phone cards to contact their families, shopping essentials and allowed access to the ‘drop in’ seafarers centre in Gibdock, which has a free Wi-Fi service, pool table, telephone, small library and a TV.
‘With many family members living in war torn Syria, this continues to be an extremely stressful time for the crew’ stated Capt. James Ferro MBE, GSWB Chairman and volunteer ship welfare visitor. 
With the support of the Gibraltar Port Authority, the welfare board has provided a forum to encourage and promote interagency collaboration and ensured that these unfortunate crewmembers receive the support they need.  

"It is heartening to see the Port community in Gibraltar working closely together in support of unfortunate seafarers stranded so far from their loved ones" stated Bob Sanguinetti, CEO and Captain of the Port, Gibraltar Port Authority

MNWB Annual Award for Services to Seafarers Welfare 2016 (added 06.12.16)

This years Annual Awards for Services to Seafarers' Welfare were announced during our conference dinner held in Bristol last week.  The worthy recipients this year were Reverend Frans Sahetapy and Mrs Susan Newcombe.

Reverend Frans Sahetapy, Sailors' Society port chaplain in Tilbury. Frans has undertaken this role for over 10 years, firstly in the port of Southampton.  After Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013, he went to the area to offer emotional and practical support to victims of the disaster.  Wherever he works he goes about this tirelessly, in an unassuming manner with a smile on his face and is a true friend to seafarers visiting the port.

Mrs Susan Newcombe, a recently retired MNWB Port Welfare Committee Manager, whose passion, commitment and knowledge of the welfare sector and seafarers’ issues has been invaluable to both the Board and the PWCs.  She is hugely liked and respected by all PWCs and her colleagues.  Her warmth, sense of humour, awareness of issues and ability to “manage”, sometimes, difficult situations has greatly enhanced the work and reputation of the Board.


MNWB Seafarers Welfare Conference  - Securing the Future (added 05.12.16)

We have just held our third very succesfsful biennial 'Seafarers Welfare Conference' in Bristol.  This years theme was Securing the Future to meet the needs of active and retired seafarers and their dependents.  Delegates attended from many of the Board’s Constituent members including representatives from the Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International, MCA and 26 maritime charities.  Also represented were all of our Port Welfare Committees.
The conference was opened by our Chairman, Bob Jones, who reminded delegates that the Board, as the Merchant Navy’s and fishing fleets’ umbrella charity, exists to support its constituents and through them, their beneficiaries.  Its primary objective being to identify and encourage the highest possible levels of provision of welfare services to seafarers.  Whilst each maritime charity is independent with a proud history of development and evolution, there is an increasing need to work more closely together.  With 43 constituent charity members it is not always easy to gain consensus, but most have a no nonsense ‘can do’ attitude and communication between us all is everything.  The conference was not designed to provide information, but to stimulate informed discussion and debate.

Guest speakers included Mark Dickinson - Nautilus International who talked about meeting the needs of active and retired seafarers and their dependents.  Barry Bryant - Seafarers UK, Graham Hockley - Trinity House and Luca Tommasi - ITF Seafarers Trust gave delegates an insight into how their organisations supported seafarers welfare services. There was also an opportunity for delegates to discuss issues during breakout sessions and open forums, looking  at how maritime charities can better address today's needs and also how the MNWB can better servce its Constituents.
To read a detailed report on the conference please click here.
To see the breakout group responses please click here.


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