Latest News

Trinity House Charity Seminar "Separate but United"
MNWB presented at the Trinity House sponsored ’Separate but United’ conference on 23 July 2019.  Delegates from various maritime charities heard presentations from Nautilus (Mariners’ Park) and the Sailors’ Children's Society of the benefits for collaboration, especially collaborating with charities and local authorities, and being able to leverage greater funds and facilities than that available in isolation.  The Chairman of MNWB, Capt. Andrew Cassels, presented on both the risks and benefits of collaboration from a Trustee perspective and Rob Robson, formerly CEO of the RNRMC discussed the benefits of partnering following the creation of the RNRMC in 2007. A useful question and answer session at the end of the day elicited valuable ideas of how the maritime charities sector can work together more effectively and efficiently; some of these ideas may be carried forward by the Board.


for 15th July 2019


Maritime Charities Group appoints Graham Hockley as Chairman


Collaborative maritime charity sector initiative appoints former Trinity House Secretary to take over from outgoing Barry Bryant


The Maritime Charities Group (MCG) has appointed Commander Graham Hockley RN as its new Chairman upon the retirement of Commodore Barry Bryant CVO RN.

Commander Hockley was elected to this new role on 30 April, which he will continue as an independent after his retirement from his position as Secretary to the Corporation of Trinity House later this year. At Trinity House he oversees the management of Trinity House’s two charities—the Corporate Charity and the much-larger Maritime Charity—and the diverse fraternity of men and women from across the maritime sector that comprises the Corporation.

The MCG—established in 2003—exists to identify gaps in maritime charitable grants and maximise the use and impact of the resources available to maritime charities, by encouraging best practice, sharing information on grant applications and funding, promoting the harmonisation of grant-making procedures and jointly funding projects and research that will create an overall benefit for maritime charities and their beneficiaries.

One example of the group’s recent successes has been the commissioning and publication in 2017 of the Navigating Change report, a review of the UK maritime welfare charity sector; the report presents the key findings of a major research project reviewing the needs and demographics of UK maritime beneficiaries and the support offered by the UK maritime welfare charity sector. The report covers the ups and downs of the period 2005-15 and looks to future challenges through to 2050.

Commander Hockley commented on his new role:

“I have made my way from the Royal Navy to IMarEST to Trinity House and, finally, I am very proud to sit as Chair of the MCG and hopefully bring something of each of those organisations to the table. Not least of which is an awareness of the scale of need among seafarers and their families—sometimes whole communities—as well as an appreciation of the positive impact that the MCG can make on those lives through collaborating and raising the impact of our grant making. Seafarers provide us all with so much and as such they deserve assistance when they are in need.

“It is important that we seek wherever possible to improve cross-working and close co-operation, while at the same time retaining and acknowledging the unique character of each member charity and the contributions made by them.

“Finally, on behalf of everyone at MCG, I would like to once again thank Barry for everything he has done to ensure that the MCG is raising the profile of our beneficiaries’ needs and putting those needs at the top of our agenda, making us a vital voice in the maritime sector.”


Maritime Charities Group

The Maritime Charities Group was established in 2003. The group’s membership is comprised of Greenwich Hospital, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, ITF Seafarers Trust, Merchant Navy Welfare Board, Nautilus International, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, Seafarers UK, Seafarers’s Hospital Society and Trinity House. The administration of the MCG lies currently with Seafarers UK.

The MCG aims to collaborate closely by understanding one another’s policies and grant making criteria, sharing information, jointly funding larger grants and encouraging good practice.

Please visit www. more information.


Commander Graham Hockley RN

Commander Graham Hockley was appointed as the Secretary to Trinity House in 2009, heading the Secretariat and running its charities and looking after its maritime Fraternity. He was elected as the Chairman of the Marine Charities Group in April this year.

Prior to this he had been a Director of the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology responsible for Technical and Professional Affairs, and Membership Services for the 15,000 members. However, his career began in the Royal Navy serving from 1973 to 2001 as an engineer officer in a variety of ships including the Royal Yacht, training establishments, procurement and the MoD.

Interests comprise hill walking, photography, maritime history, and essential DIY of a 300 year old cottage. He and his wife Joanna live in West Sussex, where he is a parish councillor.

For further information please contact:

Valerie Coleman, Programme Development Manager, Maritime Charities Group

Tel: 07515 050 301 / Email:


MNWB MiFi Project

The MiFi project was launched on May 1st 2019. It uses MiFi technology (wireless routers that act as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot) to provide seafarers in UK ports with a strong and secure network.

When visiting port chaplains and ship visitors from; Aberdeen Seafarers Centre, Apostleship of the Sea, Fishermen’s Mission, Liverpool Seafarers Centre, Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest, Sailor’s Society, Seamen’s Christian Friend Society (SCFS) and Mission to Seafarers visit UK Ports they will be able to offer seafarers a chance to contact their families and friends back home on a secure Wi-Fi network.

This project is funded by ITF Seafarers Trust and the MNWB is managing the project on their behalf.

So far we’ve received some wonderful photos and videos from port chaplains around the UK showing seafarers putting the units to good use. If you’d like to send us a photo or tag us please contact us on social media via; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Inauguration of Port Welfare Committee

Port of Durban: 29 May 2019

A new Port Welfare Committee has been established in Durban, South Africa to develop a more collaborative and holistic approach to providing assistance and support to seafarers visiting Durban.

This is part of a world-wide initiative of the International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN), funded by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the UK Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), Seafarers UK and TK Foundation.  The aims of the project are to improve the welfare services and support made available to seafarers when they call at different ports around the world.  The project is managed by the staff of the MNWB who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in both operating and setting up welfare boards, known by country as ‘National Seafarers’ Welfare Boards’ and locally as ‘Port Welfare Committees’. 

Seafarers and fishers visiting the Port of Durban are current cared for by the ecumenical Durban Seafarers Mission together with the Apostleship of the Sea, Biblia, Christian Seaman’s Organisation, German Seamen’s Mission, Sailors Society and Mission to Seafarers.  This care includes fellowship, practical and spiritual support.  Services include ship visiting, seafarers’ centre, transport, access to shops, the internet and communications with home, together with support during times of need.

The newly formed Durban Port Welfare Committee (DPWC) seeks to supplement and build on the excellent service already provided in the port by the voluntary organisations and will establish a forum where the work of all maritime organisations with a vested interest in seafarers’ welfare can be coordinated.  The DPWC will bring together key representatives from the port, maritime community, local and provincial government and non-profit organisations to support and improve seafarers’ welfare facilities and services.

A high-profile launch event was held in Durban on Wednesday 29 May 2019, which included a presentation from the IPWP and addresses by Captain Dennis Mqadi Transnet Executive Manager for Safety Health Environment and Regulatory Oversight, and Deputy Mayor Councillor Fawzia Peer.  The event was extremely well supported by members of the maritime and local community, church leaders and key players in local and provincial government.  

At the launch event, the IPWP Project Manager and MNWB Deputy Chief Executive, Miss Sharon Coveney formally inaugurated the DPWC and said: “The men and women who live and work at sea are often away from their families and friends for many months, working long hours at demanding jobs, landing at foreign countries for only short periods of time.  We are delighted that Durban as a major Southern Hemisphere Port has participated in this programme.  A content, fit and healthy seafarer is a safer and more productive seafarer.”

An award was presented to the Port of Durban for support of seafarer welfare and the inauguration of the DPWC.  Special awards were presented to Thulani Dlamini, Acting Provincial Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union and to the Durban Port Chaplains for their outstanding support to seafarers facing hardship.

“Although we already have much work being done for the welfare of seafarers in the port of Durban, this initiative offers us a unique opportunity to formalise relationships and to establish a collaborative platform to better serve the needs of the 60,000 or so seafarers who visit our port each year” said Mr Peter Cottrell, Chair of the Durban Seafarers Mission.

Captain Mqadi spoke of the importance of this initiative and pledged the commitment of Transnet National Ports Authority to the care of the many seafarers visiting the Port of Durban.

In her keynote address, Deputy Mayor Councillor Fawzia Peer affirmed the importance of caring for the welfare of seafarers saying that:

“As a caring city, eThekwini recognises the important mission of the newly formed Welfare Committee, and gives the committee its full backing.”

She shared of her vision for the regeneration of the inner city which she said would result in a safer and conducive environment for seafarers when they visit the city.

The IPWP aims to develop a global network of welfare boards and port welfare committees for the benefit of seafarers.  Aside from the inauguration of the DPWC, the event also included an IPWP Ambassadors Training Conference with representatives present from ports within South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania who are interested in starting welfare projects within their own ports, together with the regional co-ordinators of six mission organisations who are involved in seafarers’ welfare.

The DPWC promises to be of great value to the port, the maritime industry and the country, and will complement the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy of South Africa.  As the first port in South Africa to form a Port Welfare Committee, Durban will be leading the way as part of this global initiative to improve the overall wellbeing of seafarers under the auspices of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, to which South Africa is a signatory.

For further information about
The International Port Welfare Partnership Programme (IPWP) visit

Durban Seafarers Mission visit

From left to right: Mrs Linda Zama, Advisor to the Premier KZN Provincial Government, Deputy Mayor Councillor, Fawzia Peer, Miss Sharon Coveney, IPWP Project Manager and Mr Peter Cottrell, Chair Durban Seafarers Mission.

Views sought on the future of the maritime charity sector

Do you provide any form of welfare support with a main focus on maritime beneficiaries (whether Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Merchant Navy or Fishing Fleet)? If so, we need you!

You may recall that in 2017 the Maritime Charities Group published a 10-year review of the maritime charity sector, ‘Navigating Change’ . This report contained ground-breaking research into the support provided by charities for the UK seafaring community, including seafarers and their families. The report also contained a timely update on the needs and aspirations of the UK seafaring community. (You can download the report here:

In 2019, the Maritime Charities Group has commissioned an important update to this research in order to see how the charitable provision for seafarers and their families is continuing to evolve to meet future needs. The update will be carried out using a brief online survey. The results will be published and fed back to the maritime sector later this year.

Both pieces of research are carried out by the independent consultancy The Researchery .

We are communicating this to you in advance to ask for your help. We may be contacting your organisation very shortly to take part in the online survey. If contacted, we would urge you to take part at your earliest opportunity – your organisation will have been carefully selected to represent a specific part of the maritime charity sector, and so participation will help to ensure that we achieve a balanced and representative view across all organisation types, sizes and beneficiary groups.

Please watch out for our communication and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

Dr. Catherine Walker & Deborah Fairclough

The Researchery

(You can contact the research team via our website: or at )

* The Maritime Charities Group [MCG] aims to foster collaboration across the maritime charity sector. It does this by sharing information, commissioning research, supporting the education and welfare of seafarers and their families, and by the promotion of best practice within the maritime charity sector. Current members of the MCG are: Greenwich Hospital, ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Merchant Navy Welfare Board, Nautilus Welfare, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, Seafarers Hospital Society, Seafarers UK and Trinity House.

Opening of Port Talbot Seafarers' Centre

 Capt. Andrew Cassels, Chairman of the Board was delighted to be asked by the Reverend Andrew Wright of the Mission to Seafarers to formally open the new seafarers' centre in Port Talbot.  After many years of campaigning and planning by the Centre Manager, Alwyn Bamford, amongst others, the seafarers' centre moved from its very cramped accommodation to a new building close-by.

This new centre provides almost 7 times the space of the old building which allows the provision of a TV area, a quiet area for reflection and a pool table in addition to a small shop/kitchen area where seafarers can purchase essential items, snacks and hot drinks.  The berths at Port Talbot are a long way from the fairly moderate facilities in the town centre making the taxi ride for seafarers prohibitive.  Yet for the seafarers that visit Port Talbot a 'run ashore' is just what is needed having sailed from ports as far away as South America and Australia.  The new centre is close to the berth area and provides recreational facilities and free Wi-Fi allowing them a short period of repsite before the return on board for a further 4 or 5 weeks to their next load port.

The new seafarers' centre is a great example of what can be achieved by a few dedicated and determined individuals supported by funders, in this case, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, The Mission to Seafarers and Garfield Weston to mention just a few.

It was Capt. Cassels great pleasure to meet Mrs Beryl Leyshon.  An amazing lady who was recognised by the Reverend Andrew Wright for her 63 years' service to the Mission in Port Talbot with a certificate signed by The Princess Royal, patron of The Mission to Seafarers.

Opening of the Refurbished Seafarers' Centre at DP World 

On 25th January 2019, our Chairman, Captain Andrew Cassels, had the pleasure of attending the opening of the refurbished Seafarers' Centre at DP World London Gateway.  The refurbished centre is a vast improvement on the existing centre and now offers a larger and much airier facility complete with television, WiFi, a pool table and other leisure activities for seafarers to rest in off the ship.  The centre was opened by Colin Hitchcock, Harbour Master for DP World, Alex Campbell, CEO QVSR and Stephen Metcalfe MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock.  This new facility demonstrates what can be achieved through a collaborative partnership between the port and local welfare providers.  Captain Cassels would like to thank DP World for their enthusiastic involvement which will be greatly valued by visiting seafarers visiting this important growing port.

Peterhead Fish Market

On Tuesday 22nd January, Katherine Lockwood, MNWB Port Welfare Committee (PWC) Manager, visited the new Peterhead fish market which opened its fantastic new facilities in June 2018, along with Fishermen's Mission Supt. Steve Murray. They went on to attend the North and East Scotland PWC later in the day, at the fish market.

The purpose of the PWC is to act as an information, communication and networking channel between local members and the Board.

To learn more about the PWC and their role please see:

# PortWelfare # Scotland # Fishermen

'Life at sea:  Working together in times of crisis'

On Wednesday 16th January our Chairman Capt. Andrew Cassels attended the launch of Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) charity report ‘Life at Sea: Working together in times of crisis’ the charity hope the two key points people will take away from the report is that seafarers having a friend at port is still vitally important as it means if the seafarer is having issues they’ll be able to discuss them. The other point is how AoS provide; practical, emotional and pastoral care to seafarers when tragedy strikes.

The report covers issues seafarers face such as; hospitalisation, assault and bullying, death at sea, piracy, abandonment, stress and mental health problems, non-payment of wages and refusal of shore leave.

Guests included a wide range from the maritime sector and speakers made a point of stressing the importance of seafarers and fishermen welfare and rights.

To view the AoS Life at Sea report, please see;…/Life%20at%20Sea%20…

# Seafarers # Welfare # Support

The Merchant Navy Fund awards Combat Stress with £25,000

The Merchant Navy Fund has awarded Combat Stress with £25,000! This means veteran Merchant Navy Seafarers and Fishermen will be provided with a range of mental health services addressing the needs of each individual. These services include;

•A 24 hour confidential help and advice helpline for veterans, former seafarers, serving personnel and families. The helpline can be contacted via phone, text or email.

•A community mental health service which has 14 community teams who provide treatment and support across the country. Each team consists of a community psychiatric nurse, an occupational therapist, a peer support worker and some teams include a substance misuse practitioner. These teams offer both individual and group sessions at venues around the country or over the phone.

•Specialist treatment centres in Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey provide a six-week PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme and an Anger Management Programme. These programmes have both group and individual therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-education, occupational therapy and art therapy.

If you’re a Merchant Navy/Fishermen veteran and interested in any of the above services or want to find out more about Combat Stress see;

For more about the Merchant Navy Fund, which is a collaborative initiative between Seafarers UK and the MNWB, that provides grants to organisations who support Merchant Navy seafarers and their dependents see;

# FeelGoodFriday # Veterans # MerchantNavy # Fishermen

MNWB Seafarers' Welfare Conference and Annual Award for Services to Seafarers

We held our Seafarers’ Welfare Conference on the 27th and 28th November in Liverpool, which was a resounding success. Congratulations to Ina Bruce, The Watch Ashore and Alwyn Bamford, Mission to Seafarers, joint winners of the MNWB Annual Award for Services to Seafarers’ Welfare in recognition of many years of exceptional support and service they have given to seafarers. Awards were also received by Alex Campbell, Queen Victoria’s Seamen’s Rest and Cdre Barry Bryant, Seafarers UK, in recognition of their services to seafarers’ welfare. We were also delighted to welcome Lord Prescott to the evening dinner to present the awards. Thank you again to our speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend and present at our Conference and for their contribution to another successful  and thoroughly enjoyable MNWB conference!

MNWB Chairman, Andrew Cassels, opens Tilbury Seafarers' Centre Recreation Area.

ICS and ITF Publish New Guidelines on Welfare Aspects of the ILO MLC

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have jointly released new 'Guidelines for implementing the Welfare aspects of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)'.

Click here to read more .

Northern Ireland Dances for Seafarers Welfare

Organised by the local Port Welfare Committee (PWC) and supported by the Port of Belfast, the Northern Ireland maritime community held a Gala Dinner to promote seafarers and fishers’ welfare.  

Port of Belfast, Harbour Master Capt Kevin Allen welcomed everyone to the prestigious Port of Belfast Harbour Commissioners venue for another successful event that raised much needed funds in support of the important work of Mission to Seafarers, Seamen’s Christian Friends Society and the Fishermen’s Mission.  

Guest speaker, Peter Tomlin (Chief Executive, Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB)) stated ‘Once again, Deputy Harbour Master Paul Hayes and his PWC team have done an excellent job of organising an event that supports the welfare organisations who look after local and visiting seafarers and fishers from all over the world.’

Attended by key members of the maritime sector and supported by MNWB and Seafarers UK, the audience enjoyed excellent pre-dinner entertainment by young, local dancers that included a modern take on the traditional maritime ‘Hornpipe’.  

Well done Northern Ireland Port Welfare Committee.

Click here to see a short clip.

MNWB Vice Chairman awarded prestigious Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service

Our heartfelt congratulations go out to MNWB Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board  Mark Dickinson , who was awarded the prestigious 2018 Merchant Navy Medal for meritorious service in recognition of his work on seafarer employment, training and welfare.

Mr Dickinson was one of 19 people who were presented with the prestigious award by the Princess Royal at Trinity House, on Wednesday 26 September 2018.

M/V Derbyshire memorial

MNWB Chairman Capt. Andrew Cassels and Chief Executive Peter Tomlin, the latter also representing Seafarers UK, had the privilege to attend the Derbyshire Family Association memorial service at the Liverpool Parish Church remembering the 38th year following the sinking of the M/V Derbyshire and the loss of all 44 lives on board.  An emotional service was followed by the dedication of the memorial garden and sculpture, which appropriately overlooks the Mersey. Amongst others, the Reverend Peter McGrath gave a moving speech reminding the 400 strong congregation that for each of the 44 lives lost, there are sons, daughters, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers that are still mourning the loss of their loved ones. Lord Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull spoke of the importance of properly investigating incidents so that the causes can be understood, and lessons learned. It is without doubt that many incidents have been prevented following the implementation of the 22 recommendations that resulted from the re-opened formal investigation into the loss of the M/V Derbyshire.

From left to right - Pam Brown, Lord Prescott, Steve Todd, Sir Michael Bibby, Capt. Andrew Cassels and Peter Tomlin.

2018 Recipients of the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service (added 03.09.18)

Captain Belinda Bennett, for services to the promotion of the maritime sector
Mr Derek Cardno, for services to the welfare of fishermen
Lieutenant Commander David Carter, for services to the careers of young seafarers and seafarer welfare
Mr Stephen Chamberlain, for an act of bravery in saving a life
Captain Timothy Charlesworth, for services to UK ports and the maritime industry
Mr Mark Dickinson, for services to seafarer employment, training and welfare
Captain Antonio Gatti, for services to UK research expeditions
Mr John Halsall, for services to the careers of young seafarers
Captain Nigel Jardine, for services to UK ports and the maritime industry including the small port sector
Captain Robin Lock, for services to a maritime charity
Mr George Lonie, for services to the careers of young seafarers and seafarer welfare
Mr Michael Morley, for services to a maritime charity
Captain Nicholas Nash, for services to maritime training
Captain John Rankin, for services to the Merchant Navy
Captain Michael Reeves, for services to the careers of young seafarers and seafarere welfare
Captain Andrew Schofield, for services to the large yacht industry
Captain Ian Shields, for services to a maritime charity
Mr Keith Tompson, for services to a maritime charity
Captain Thomas Woolley, for services to harbour towage and safety standards

The MNWB joined the Mayor of Southampton, Councillors and members of the local maritime community to honour and remember the sacrifice made by Merchant Navy Seafarers during times of conflict. # merchantnavyday

MNWB Annual Report 2017 hot off the press (added 30.07.18)
Our Annual Report for 2017 has just been printed.  To download a copy please click on the image above.
To see previous years reports please click here.

New Chairman for MNWB (added 05/07/18)

MNWB is delighted to announce the appointment of Captain Andrew Cassels as our new Chairman following the retirement of our long standing Chairman of eight years Robert Jones.

Having joined BP in 1975 where he served at sea for 14 years in ranks up to Master on BP oil tankers, Andrew has enjoyed a broad range of roles across BP Shipping and BP Exploration. His key responsibilities have been within the two main operational areas of BP Shipping; Marine Assurance and Fleet Operations.

In 2015, Andrew was seconded to the Managing Director of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum which he held until shortly before his retirement in July 2018. Andrew previously held directorships at East Asia Response Ltd (EARL) and the Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), he was Managing Director of the BP ShipCare vessel lay-up service, Member of the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), a Council Member of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and on the Board of the Green Awards.

In his spare time Andrew enjoys walking his English Bull Terrier, gardening, cycling and walking. Other notable achievements include the Prudential London 100 charity cycle ride in 2016 and 2017, and he is now training for the 2018 ride in July raising funds for Seafarers UK.


MNWB holds UK’s first Seafarers’ Centre Conference in Southampton (added 04/05/18)

Seafarers’ centres play a key role in the provision of ‘front line’ seafarers’ welfare services in many UK ports. Although these facilities fulfil the same overall function of supporting seafarers/fishermen and are all called ‘centres’, each one is unique, much like the ports they are located in. Our UK centres come in all different shapes and sizes; some are manned, some are unmanned and some are both, enabling them to provide a 24/7 service that meets local needs. Most centres depend on local committees/volunteers and transport to operate effectively; the majority are autonomous and a number are registered charities in their own right. It is important that centres are operated and managed locally, and have good governance in place. As a result of recent MNWB work with the societies on a number of seafarers’ centres, it was clear that the vast majority of centres were experiencing difficulties raising the funds necessary to cover their basic operating costs and needed support of some kind. Indeed, some centres were struggling to survive.

The Board was keen to support seafarers centres where needed. We emphasize the word ‘support’ because it can come in many different forms and from many different organisations. The Board, as an umbrella charity, is all about collaboration and, as such, wanted to create an environment where centre managers/trustees could share best practice and network, something which has not happened in the past. To that end the Board held its first very successful Seafarers’ Centre Conference in Southampton this week. It was well attended with representatives from over 25 seafarers’ centres from across the UK, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, in addition to staff from the main seafarers’ welfare societies. There were some excellent presentations from a variety of centres highlighting what they do well to what they could do better. There were also a number of workshops facilitated by Solent University in which delegates discussed issues, best practice and the way forward.  Click here to see a copy of the Solent University Research and MNWB Conference Summary papers



Sharon Coveney, MNWB Deputy CEO and Katherine Lockwood, MNWB Port Welfare Committee Manager were at the ILO Headquaters in Geneva to promote the   International Port Welfare Partnership Programme  
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