ICSW and ISAN to merge (added 10.12.12)
The International Committee on Seafarers' Welfare (ICSW) and the International Seafarers' Assistance Network (ISAN) have formally agreed to merge. The members of the ICSW met in London on 27 November and voted for the merger and for a change of name for the new merged organisation. The new organisation will be called the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and will be formally launched in early 2013.
MNWB & Three UK Officially Launch mobile WiFi for Seafarers (added 20.09.12)
The Merchant Navy Welfare Board and Three UK have partnered to provide Seafarers with over half a million free Megabytes of mobile internet to seafarers visiting UK ports.
Captain David Parsons, Chief Executive of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board was delighted to attend this year’s National Armed Forces Day celebrations in Plymouth on 30th June, to promote the work of the Board and constituent members.
Full steam ahead for seafarers' welfare! (Added 12.07.12)
The Merchant Navy Welfare Board hosted its two day Seafarers’ Welfare Conference at The Dolphin Hotel in Southampton on 26th and 27th June 2012, for delegates from 45 maritime organisations and the Board’s 16 Port Welfare Committees, including Gibraltar. In his opening address to over 70 delegates, the Chairman, Mr Bob Jones, declared that the conference was “all about the seafarers and those people providing for their welfare”.
During the conference dinner Captain Ian McNaught, Deputy Master of Trinity House, told the audience about the work of his organisation and included some anecdotes about his former role as the last master of “Queen Elizabeth II” cruise vessel. Later Mrs Penny Philips, Chairman of the Falmouth Mission to Seafarers, was presented with the MNWB’s prestigious Annual Award for Seafarer’s Welfare in recognition of her work in establishing and supporting the local Flying Angel mission in the port.
In his closing address Captain David Parsons, the Chief executive, praised the passion and care for seafarers’ welfare that was the driving force that motivated all those involved in this important sector. He went on to advocate ever closer collaboration and partnership working between organisations.
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Derek Burke officially closed the event declaring his delight that MNWB had chosen to hold their conference in the maritime city of Southampton and was enthused by the dedication shown in supporting seafarers.
Carolyn’s Communications Challenge (Added 20.04.12)
MNWB Port Welfare Committee Manager Carolyn Lewis successfully completed the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 15th April, to raise funds for seafarers’ visiting UK ports.
Setting off from Preston Park at 09:30 on Sunday morning to commence her 26.2 mile journey, Carolyn said that her marathon strategy was to break down the miles into smaller sections; eat plenty; drink plenty and keep smiling! The route took the runners through Hove, Worthing and Shoreham before heading back to Brighton to the finish line just beyond Brighton Pier. Carolyn added: “The spectators were amazing! The course went through a number of residential streets where residents had set up street party’s and were handing out sweets, playing music and cheering everyone on – the atmosphere was electric!
“Mile 25 lead you down the main promenade road in front on the Grand Hotel; the crowds of people shouting and cheering everyone on was incredible – especially my mum who I think ran half the mile with me and of course, the real hero of the day, Adam my husband, who ran the last 2 miles of the course so he’d be at the finish line to meet me and take photos!”
Carolyn is aiming to raise £10,000 to purchase 100 mobile Wi-Fi units called Mi-Fi’s that will be donated to Ship Welfare Visitors / Port Chaplains across the UK. These units can be taken on board ships whilst in port to enable seafarers to make contact with their families easily and cheaply. She commented: “Communicating with friends and family is a key priority for seafarers. Ship turnarounds are short busy times and getting ashore can be difficult. Finding an internet connection to Skype, Facebook, Tweet etc. can be challenging! Through my work with the Board’s Port Welfare Committees’ over the past 3 years, it's apparent that many seafarers’ own Wi-Fi enabled devices, but have limited ways of connecting to the internet.”
Each unit costs £100 and includes a pre-paid monthly data allowance for 12 -18 months and most importantly enables up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to be connected at any one time; creating a small Wi-Fi hub on-board.
Carolyn wished to thank all those that had supported her over the past few months, she said: ‘I’m extremely grateful to all my family, friends and colleagues who’ve encouraged me and donated; it’s really kept me focussed and motivated to achieve this goal.”
Click here to support Carolyn in her quest to keep seafarers’ and their families connected!
A proud day for the Board! (Added 19.04.12)
The Board was extremely proud of Captain Parsons, MNWB’s CEO and former MNWB Chairman, Captain Crookall, who were both awarded the Merchant Navy Medal at a ceremony held on 28th November 2011 at the prestigious Trinity House London.
Lord West of Spithead presented the medals to 20 recipients selected by the Merchant Navy Medal Committee. The awards recognise the meritorious service of seafarers who are judged to have made a worthwhile contribution to merchant shipping, its operations, development, personnel, welfare or safety, or who have performed an act of courage afloat.
Both Captain Parsons and Captain Crookall received their awards for services to merchant shipping and maritime charities.
Tom Crookall served at Sea with Blue Star Line and later became General Manager of Blue Star Ship Management. He joined the MNWB as Trustee in 1988 and chaired the Board for eight years before retiring in 2011. He says that he was delighted to have been involved with the Board during a period in which it was able to significantly raise its level of activity among the maritime charities. Much has, and continues to be, achieved and these awards to David and myself are an appreciation of the efforts of all who have contributed to the work of the Board.
MNWB’s Chairman and CEO were delighted to attend the opening of the new drop-in centre on Monday 09th January 2012, situated on 207 berth of Southampton’s Container Terminal. The drop-in centre is equipped with computers, telephones, Wi-Fi access and a television.
The new centre provides some of the 20,000 seafarers that pass through DP World’s terminal each year, the opportunity to contact their families.
The Merchant Navy Welfare Board part funded the centre with Ivitta and Centres for Seafarers.
Mr Jones the Board’s Chairman commented: “With ships only being in port for a very short period of time, the need for crew members to find a relaxing ‘private space’ off the ship becomes very difficult – particularly at remote berths or terminals. Centres for Seafarers are to be congratulated for providing these accessible facilities at 207 berth.”
After 10 years of campaigning, the Aberdeen Seafarers Centre Steering Committee was delighted to open the doors of the new Aberdeen centre in December 2011.
Situated opposite the docks on 182-194 Market Street, the main reception room offers a pool table, reading corner with book/DVD exchange, coffee tables and chairs with free tea and coffee (courtesy of their sponsors Trinity House). Facilities also include a computer room with 4 computers, internet access and web cams; a TV / Cinema room with Nintendo Wii console, karaoke machine and Blu-Ray DVD player. If that wasn’t enough space, the basement has several useable rooms used for storing all the woolly hats and books!
Revd Drysdale said he was delighted that Aberdeen now had a safe place to offer the thousands of seafarers that visit the port each year.