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Australian Seafarers' Welfare Council

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Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin

20 September 2017

The 6th edition of the Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin, is now available. In this issue we focus on risk management. Requirements for the management of risks have been in place for some time for both domestic and international commercial vessels. Recent data suggests that there is room for improvement in the area of risk management at sea. This safety bulletin will discuss some of the challenges associated with risk management and provide guidance on risk management processes. The guidance provided is relevant to all vessel types and operation.

Please go to http://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-publications/international/publications/Ship-Safety/index.asp to view this issue along with the previous issues published.

Support Dean Summers raising money for a Seafarer’s widow and family

18 April 2017

In April 2017, Dean Summers will be swimming the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand in the hope to raise his goal of $15,000 to support a Burmese, Mrs Thandar Ye Myint, and her young family.

Thandar’s husband Tun Tun died after spending a long seventeen months away from home, while the ship he was working on was docked in Japan. Unfortunately Tun Tun’s saved wages and the compensation Thandar was entitled to, was never paid which has left her surviving only on handouts. Dean is asking for donations in hope to be able to provide shelter and food for this family and perhaps a modest education for the children.

You can make a donation by visiting the following link to Dean’s Go fund me page: https://www.gofundme.com/help-burmese-widow-now

Supporting seafarers & their families in times of need

24 January 2017

On 22 December 2016, the Chief Officer on board the bulk carrier Choiba was found unconscious in the ship’s lift whilst the vessel was berthed at Port Hedland. He was provided first aid and taken off the ship by BHP first response personnel and transported to the local hospital by St John’s ambulance. He was flown to Perth the same day by the Royal Flying Doctor for further medical assessment and treatment.

Meanwhile, arrangements were made by the vessel’s P&I representative to have the Chief Officer’s daughter flown out from Romania to be by his side. His daughter arrived in Perth where she was assisted by local seafarer welfare group members. She was able to visit her father but, unfortunately, his health had deteriorate to the point where she was advised that life support should not be continued. Life support arrangements were subsequently terminated, and the Chief Officer passed away on 11 January 2017. The exact cause of his death will not be known until the results of his autopsy are released.

This is a tragic event, and the thoughts and wishes of the Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council are with the Chief Officer’s family and friends. However, it is also an opportune time to acknowledge the work of those that assist in these times of need to provide the necessary assistance and support to sick and injured seafarers and their families. In this instance, emergency services, the shipping company’s representatives, the welfare community and AMSA all pulled together to do what was necessary, and a bit more, to support the Chief Officer and his family. When thanking those that assisted, the Chief Officer’s daughters acknowledged this when she said; “thank you for ensuring that such a network supporting the seafarers and their families is in place especially in time of need”.

As a further highlight of the support provided by the local community, a charity cricket match will be held in Port Hedland in the coming weeks with all proceeds going to the Chief Officer’s family.


ITF Seafarers’ Trust – Portable Communication Pods: Pilot Project

29 November 2016

The ITF Seafarers’ Trust has announced plans for their Portable Communication Pods Pilot Project (PCP). Over the past year, the Seafarers’ Trust has busily been developing an adaptable and dynamic response to the welfare needs of seafarers arising from a lack of a reliable internet connection whilst in port.

Based on the design of a portable 20ft container box, the pods will provide seafarers with access to Wi-Fi, tablet consoles and furniture to rest. The PCP Pilot Project will aim to compliment the important work already undertaken by Seafarer Centres by specifically targeting sites lacking in existing service provision.

ITF Seafarers’ Trust are now requesting applications to host a centre from welfare providers, shipping companies and Port Authorities. Your support is also required in recommending sites of potential interest or simply generating interest among your members. The deadline for applications is 16 January 2017.

For more information on the PCP Pilot Project and information on how to apply, please see the PDF document or visit the website. The pilot project will run initially for a period of 12 months and the ITF Seafarers’ Trust are asking all potential hosts to complete a business case proposal and budget tool.

Enhanced recognition for Sydney Sailors’ Home heritage building

12 September 2016

In recent years, thousands of visitors to The Rocks would have walked past the Sydney Sailors’ Home building at 106 George Street North unaware of the key role it played in the port of Sydney for more than 100 years from the mid-19th century. 

This situation was rectified earlier this year when the Australian Mariners' Welfare Society, the long-established company which built the Sydney Sailors’ Home and operated it from 1865 until 1979, joined with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) as manager of the heritage-listed building, in commissioning an interpretive plaque at its entrance. 

The plaque provides information on the background to the Home, which accommodated thousands of seafarers of all nationalities visiting Sydney with cheap accommodation and meals.  For more information visit the Australian Mariners’ Welfare Society.

 

Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin

1 September 2016

AMSA has published the fourth issue of the Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin – Shaping Shipping for People.  This issue focuses on the high risk operation of working over the side.  It presents AMSA’s over the side incident data, provides examples of ways in which industry can control the risks, and talks about the importance of safety culture.  Be sure to read the back page for some tips to rethink normal operations and the bulletin’s hallmark take-away message. Find an index of all issues of the Safety Bulletin.


Mission to Seafarers Hobart provides valuable support to injured seafarer

25 August 2016

On the 5th of April an Indonesian seafarer on the cruise ship Dawn Princess fell down a stairway and fractured a vertebrae. He was admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital, and his ship sailed on to Sydney. Mission to Seafarers Hobart volunteer, Dion, visited the seafarer in hospital, then in the Woolstore Apartments after he was discharged prior to being flown home to Indonesia. Dion arranged food for the seafarer as he was reluctant to disturb anyone to get room service in the large Apartment complex. A few issues at check in meant that he was delayed flying home and hence had to return to the Woolstore Apartments. Again Dion looked after him until he was able to fly out the next day Since arriving home, Dion has continued email contact and encouragement with the seafarer who was receiving further treatment and now looks forward to resuming work at sea. This is another fine example of the Mission to Seafarers caring for seafarers regardless of race, creed or colour around the world.


International Port Welfare Partnership Pilot Project

18 August 2016

Gladstone, Australia, was the first port group to apply to join the ISWAN International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) pilot project in 2015/16. This resulted in the formation of the Gladstone Port Welfare Committee (PWC). Please read more about the Gladstone PWC’s involvement in the project.

The IPWP pilot project will expand to become a 3 year program with effect from January 2017.  Port groups interested in joining the program should submit an ‘expression of interest’ via the project website ‘contact us’ page.

To learn more about the project go to the Port Welfare website.


Channel Swim for Seafarers

5 July 2016

After conquering the English Channel swim last year in a respectable 13 hours and 19 minutes which raised more than $25,000 for Hunterlink Recovery Services, International Transport Workers’ Federation Coordinator and member of the Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council, Dean Summers, has set his sights on the ‘Triple Crown’ of swimming, which will see him undertake another two endurance swims. On 4 August Dean will swim the Catalina Channel, 32 kilometres from Catalina Island to the shores of Los Angeles, and later in the month the full 46 kilometre circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.

To date there have only been 10 Australians who have completed this gruelling challenge made even more difficult by attempting these two swims back to back in the same month.

This year, Dean’s fund raising target is $30,000 to provide Hunterlink with valuable resources needed to counter the particular mental health problems associated with maritime workers.  It will be used to roll out a suicide prevention package to key people who interface with international seafarers on a regular basis. These donations could actually save and improve lives of international seafarers and maritime workers. 
You can visit Dean’s blog to find out more or to donate, or go directly to his everyday hero page.


Day of the Seafarer 2016 #AtSeaForAll

21 June 2016

This year, IMO's Day of the Seafarer campaign wants to celebrate seafarers and let the world know how and why seafarers are indispensable to everyone.

The campaign theme this year is "At Sea For All".

The theme has a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, "Shipping: indispensable to the world", emphasising that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of us – and, consequently, they are also "indispensable to the world".

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: "This year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion".

You can start spreading the message on social media using the campaign hashtag #AtSeaForAll. The 2016 toolkit is available on the IMO website, it tells you all about this year's campaign and gives examples of tweets and posts you can use to add your voice of thanks.  For more info visit the IMO website.


Wellness at sea app

13 May 2016

The Sailors’ Society has unveiled its new Wellness at Sea app.  The app, which is available to download free of charge, seeks to combat issues such as fatigue, poor mental health and stress, which affect seafarers on a daily basis and can be the difference between safe transit and a major incident.  For more information, please read the Sailors' Society press release.


Guidance on eliminating shipboard harassment & bullying

4 February 2016

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have released a new document for ship owners and seafarers, providing advice on how to recognise, report and eliminate harassment and bullying on board. Please read the Guidance on eliminating shipboard harrassment and bullying.

The document was officially launched via a joint (ICS and ITF) press release on Monday 25 January and hard copies will be distributed to delegates attending the MLC Special Tripartite Committee meeting at the ILO, in Geneva this February.


Crew Connectivity

27 November 2015

The results of a comprehensive survey conducted by Futurenautics Research  and involving over 3,000 seafarers from 30 different countries has revealed that shipowners are increasingly aware of the benefits of crew connectivity. In trying to maintain a happy workforce, shipowners are starting to realise that connecting crew to their family members is only just the beginning. Of the seafarers surveyed, 73% stated that crew connectivity was an important factor in influencing their decision on which company to join. The 2015 crew connectivity survey was conducted with the assistance of Bimco, ISWAN, InterManager, PTC and Crew2 and is available for downloading as a PDF.


Seafarers Happiness Index

26 November 2015

Following Crewtoo's launch of their Seafarers Happiness Index earlier this year, the July 2015/ Quarter 2 report shows a seafarer satisfaction level of 6.44 on a scale of 1 to 10 about key issues including general happiness, contact with family, shore leave, wage levels, food, fitness and health, training, interaction onboard, workload, and access to welfare facilities.  The Index has been established to monitor important benchmarks of seafarer satisfaction on a regular basis. 


Allways Shipping Pty Ltd – Lloyd's List Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry’s Seafarer Welfare Award 2015

20 November 2015

The Australian Seafarers' Welfare Council would like to congratulate David Lynn and Simon Luff of Allways Shipping Pty Ltd for winning the 2015 Seafarer Welfare Award. The awards also Highly Commended John Lines, Managing Director of ANL and P&O Maritime Services.

This award recognises the corporate commitment of a company to the mental, physical and pastoral welfare of seafarers.

In February 2015, two crew members on board the heavy lift vessel Happy Buccaneer were seriously injured while the vessel was alongside Roy Hill wharf in Port Hedland, Western Australia.  Both men suffered serious leg injuries and were flown to Perth for medical attention.  Sadly one man’s leg was amputated.

This award recognises the efforts of David Lynn and Simon Luff of Allways Shipping Pty Ltd, who acted beyond the mandatory requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. Together, David and Simon made sure the welfare and wellbeing of the two crew members was addressed and were instrumental in making sure the two men were well cared for. 

Their efforts included; providing regular updates as to the ongoing status of their health and wellbeing, providing necessary personal needs, being an essential conduit between the authorities and welfare committee members who were able to visit regularly, lightening up their day and making sure they were in ‘good spirits’ given the tragic circumstances.  They also facilitated a visit from a family member of one of the seafarers from overseas, which was an enormous boost to his moral and assisted with his recovery.

The additional concern and care that was taken sets a benchmark for ship agents in seafarer welfare and demonstrates to the global shipping industry Australia’s commitment to the welfare of seafarers.


Port Hedland Welfare Centre

6 November 2015

The Port Hedland Welfare Centre has put together a short video documenting an average hour at the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre.  It’s a wonderful snippet into how the Port Hedland Welfare Centre caters for over 3,000 seafarers each month.  This busy hour includes ship visits, harbour tour, a trip to the shops and most importantly some time to relax at the centre and catch up with family on the internet.


Becoming Mentally Healthy

15 October 2015

As part of the National Safe Work Month October 2015, Safe Work Australia is running the virtual seminar series (VSS) which will showcases the latest research and developments in work health and safety. A live panel session titled ‘Becoming a mentally healthy small business’ was held on 6 October to discuss the increasing challenges faced by businesses and organisations and how these may affect the mental health of the workers. The panel consists of Ann Sherry AO, Chair of Safe Work Australia, Georgie Harman, Chief Executive Officer of beyondblue and Leanne Faulkner.

Watch the video on becoming mentally healthy.


Social Isolation of Seafarers

2 October 2015

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) recently published an article by Dr Olivia Swift on ‘Social Isolation of Seafarers’.  The article identifies what ‘social isolation’ is, how it affects seafarers and what can be done to lessen the impact.

The article also outlines a number of Australian initiatives available to assist with mental health, namely MoodGYM (an online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for depression sufferers), services provided by Hunterlink at Australian ports and the Beyond Blue/ Rotary Club of Melbourne South’s booklet. The article may be found on the ISWAN website.


Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin

2 October 2015

AMSA has published the second issue of the Maritime Safety Awareness BulletinShaping Shipping for People. Mooring is considered an extremely dangerous task for seafarers. This safety bulletin, ‘Thinking – mooring safety’ presents AMSA’s mooring data, describes mooring incidents and provides examples of ways in which industry can improve follow-ups to incidents. Be sure to read the back page for some tips to rethink normal operations and the bulletin’s hallmark take-away message.


Channel Swim for Seafarers Accomplished

22 September 2015

On 21 August 2015, Australian ITF co-ordinator and seafarer Dean Summers successfully completed an arduous swim across the English Channel, and all in the name of charity. The swim, which took an exhausting 13 hours and 19 minutes to complete, was dedicated to the 1.3 million seafarers who currently ply their trade transporting cargo around the world. The money raised as a result of Dean’s swim is being donated to the charity group Hunterlink. Read more about Dean’s Channel Swim for Seafarers.

Hunterlink Recovery Services is an employee assistance provider which provides recovery and welfare support for workers and their families within the maritime industry. If you or a family member would like to speak to someone, or are seeking advice, you can contact Hunterlink via their website.


Gladstone Joins International Port Welfare Pilot Project

22 September 2015

The port of Gladstone has been selected as the first port in the world to participate in ISWAN’s worldwide project to improve the facilities and services available to seafarers visiting ports around the world. The newly established Gladstone Port Welfare Committee (GPWC) held their inaugural meeting in July. The GPWC aims to supplement and develop the current service provided by the Mission to Seafarers. The ISWAN Project Manager, Peter Tomlin, attended the meeting and was suitably impressed with the amount of local support and enthusiasm the initiative was receiving. More about the GPWC and the pilot project can be found on the Port Welfare website.


Sea Sunday 2015

22 September 2015

Sea Sunday is an annual event whereby parishes from across the globe come together to remember and pray for seafarers, their families and those who support them, and to give thanks for their tireless work. It is celebrated on the second Sunday in July.

This year, Sea Sunday was celebrated on Sunday 12 July, and Australia’s adopted theme was origami boats. Please read more about how the Mission to Seafarers celebrated Sea Sunday.


Day of the Seafarer 2015 – Career at Sea

25 June 2015

This year’s Day of the Seafarer (25 June) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are seeking to encourage the next generation of seafarers by promoting and highlighting the benefits choosing a ‘Career at Sea’ as this year’s theme. The IMO Secretary –General, Koji Sekimizu says:

“Seafaring can provide not only an opportunity to earn money to live and provide for your families, it also offers unique opportunities to navigate the seas of the glove and encounter the wonders of the ocean.  It offers young people the opportunity to experience a world of real adventure on the seas and oceans of our plant, to interact with people from all over the world and to experience the huge variety of mankind’s culture and heritage.”

As part of their campaign IMO invited all aspiring and current seafarers, organisations, shop-owners, governments, port-authorities and general supports across the world to share their stories about life at sea, by posting them on various social media channels.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has taken part with a number of employees sharing a few stories about their life at sea and in the maritime industry. Please see the video below.

The Big hART’s Blue Angel project has created a short film celebrating Australian seafarers young and old, capturing real stories of a life at sea. Both are well worth watching.


SeafarerHelp Annual Review 2014

25 June 2015

SeafarerHelp offers worldwide support and assistance to seafarers all day, every day.  Operating out of the United Kingdom, SeafarerHelp provides a multilingual confidential helpline, free of charge and independent service, for seafarers and their families. 
SeafarerHelp is available through a range of media, including telephone, email, Facebook, Live Chat, Skype, Twitter and SMS text.
In 2014 SeafarerHelp:

  • Received 1,920 new cases (an increase of 52.7% from 2013) involving 7,710 seafarers and their families (an increase of 19.1% from 2013)
  • Helped seafarers from 84 different nationalities, who made contact from 113 different countries
  • Use of the internet as the means of contacting SeafarerHelp is increasing, with contact being made via Facebook showing a significant increased from 41 in 2013 (2%) to 233 in 2014 (12%).
Please read the SeafarerHelp Annual Review 2013.

Newcastle Seafarers Centre Award Nomination

19 June 2015

The Newcastle seafarers centre based in Wickham, New South Wales has been voted in the top 5 welfare centres in the world by visiting seafarers. The Newcastle Mission to Seafarers has served visiting mariners for more than 70 years and is the only Australian seafarers’ mission centre in 2015 within the top five.

The centre’s nomination was a part of a world-wide survey of mission centres conducted by the International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) and being nominated is considered quite an achievement. The awards ceremony will be held in June at the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) headquarters, with IMO Secretary General Mr Koji Sekimizu presenting the awards. Read more about the awards on the MN News today website.

4 members pictured from the Newcastle seafarers centre.

Above: Members from the Newcastle seafarers centre.


International Seafarers Welfare Awards Ceremony

19 June 2015

The winners of the 2015 International Seafarers Awards has been announced with Paul Karras, founder of Hunterlink Recovery Services (see earlier news article) receiving the Judges Special Posthumous Award for Services to Seafarers’ Welfare.

  • Paul was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Hunterlink Recovery Services and incorporated many programs into the maritime industry which are changing the way employers support their employees.
  • Worked in welfare for 20 years, specialising in substance abuse, mental health and homelessness and advocating for those that could not advocate for themselves.
  • Established a 24 hour national service where seafarers and their families could call and talk to a professional counsellor.

The awards (nominated by seafarers and funded by the ITF Seafarers Trust) are an initiative recognising the excellent work and services provided by seafarer welfare facilities all over the world. This year Australia had a number of people and organisations shortlisted in four of the five Award categories, as follows:

  • Port of the Year: Port of Sydney and Botany
  • Seafarer Centre of the Year: MTS Newcastle
  • The Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year: Garry South (Individual) and Hunterlink Recovery Services (Organisation).

Read more about the Award winners and the event at the Seafarer Welfare Awards website.


Channel Swim for Seafarers

26 March 2015

Australian seafarer and International Transport Federation (ITF) co-ordinator Dean Summers will swim the English Channel on 25 August 2015, to mark the 140th anniversary of Captain Mathew Webb’s swim in 1875. Captain Webb was the first man in recorded history to swim the channel unassisted.

Dean is dedicating his swim to the 1.3 million seafarers around the world and is also raising money and awareness for Hunterlink, an organisation which provides support, recovery and welfare needs to seafarers and other transport workers within the maritime industry. To learn more about Deans swim and to make a donation to Hunterlink, please see the Channel Swim for Seafarers website.


Hunterlink Recovery Services

26 March 2015

Hunterlink is an employee assistance provider which was established as a response to the need for support, recovery and welfare within the maritime industry. The organisation provides support services on a 24 hour basis for both Australian and visiting international seafarers as well as to maritime workers and stakeholders.

Hunterlink has experience dealing with the particular problems experienced by seafarers and has access to professional counsellors and medical practitioners. All communications are treated in strict confidence.

If you would like to speak to someone, or are seeking advice, Hunterlink can be contacted by text message, phone call, email or via their website.


Big hART’s Blue Angel project

23 February 2015

Big hART, a Tasmanian arts company is about to premiere its inaugural theatre production ‘Blue Angel’ in Hobart this March. Blue Angel is a theatre production that is designed to highlight the plight and sacrifices of a modern day seafarer, whilst romanticising the tall tales of life at sea. The production will be shown in three cities across Australia in 2015 and in Rotterdam in 2016.

To learn more about this exciting project, please the ABC news article.


International port welfare partnership pilot project

9 February 2015

The International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) project has a new website: www.portwelfare.org that was recently launched by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. The ISWAN project aims to promote, encourage and support the establishment of welfare boards worldwide, in accordance with MLC, 2006. The project website gives an introduction to topics such as seafarer volunteer organisations, maritime unions, MLC 2006 Regulation 4.4 and the project itself.

For more information please see the ISWAN press release.


News Insight: Wellness at Sea wins industry buy in

7 February 2015

A new training program that hopes to update seafarers training needs for the 21st century and encourage cultural change, has been launched in London. The five module training program which has the support of both ship owners and a social welfare provider is designed to promote awareness about seafarer mental health, which historically, has played second fiddle to occupational skills.

Please read more information about the Wellness at Sea training program.


Maritime Safety Awareness Bulletin

6 February 2015

AMSA is pleased to announce the first issue of the Maritime Safety Awareness BulletinShaping Shipping for People. Each issue presents case studies, data and research on a topic relevant to maritime safety – starting with working at heights. This issue includes a comparison of fall from height claims between the maritime and construction industries and a discussion of the broader issues related to working at heights. Be sure to check out the take-away message on page 4 which gives some tips for seafarers about helping to improve height safety practices.


Ocean Drover  hero

6 February 2015

Investigations into the fire on board the livestock carrier Ocean Drover while it was berthed in Fremantle on 9 October 2014 have revealed how the heroic actions of a senior crew member saved the life of a fellow crew member who had succumbed to thick smoke.

An able bodied seaman was sound asleep in his cabin when a fire on board the livestock carrier Ocean Drover automatically activated the fire alarm. Calling out for help and trying to escape, the disoriented seaman became overcome by thick smoke and collapsed in his cabin doorway.
The ship’s Second Officer donned a breathing apparatus and fire suit and then entered the accommodation block in an attempt to rescue his fellow seafarer, but was thwarted by the intensity of the fire.

The incredibly brave Second Officer used an alternative means of access and, with a fire extinguisher in hand, was able to crawl his way through the alleyway and locate the unresponsive seaman through the thick smoke. The Second Officer dragged the seaman clear of the accommodation block, administered first aid and successfully revived him.
Both crew members were later treated at Fremantle Hospital for burns and smoke inhalation and after a short recovery period were repatriated back to their respective countries. Repairs to Ocean Drover are reportedly on schedule as the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) continues to investigate the fire.

A published article in the West Australian can be viewed here.


Ocean Drover – a Seafarer Welfare success

10 November 2014

A recent fire on board the Ocean Drover in the port of Fremantle, affecting approximately 50 seafarers, proved to be an opportunity for all involved with seafarer welfare in Fremantle to demonstrate how to look after our seafarers.

Representatives from ITF, Wellards, Swan Shipping Agencies, Flying Angel Club and Stella Maris worked together to ensure the crew all had accommodation, were clothed, fed, had access to internet and mobile phones to keep in contact with their family and generally kept in good spirits!
The crew experienced true Australian hospitality, being housed at the Flying Angel Club in Fremantle, were able to take a tour of a wildlife park near Perth complete with kangaroo feeding and a sheep shearing demonstration.  An Australian barbeque was also held for the crew.

Above: Crew members of the Ocean Drover stand beside a sleeping Koala.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: The crew of the Ocean Drover outside the Caversham Wildlife Park.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Crew members of the Ocean Drover cooking a barbeque.


MLC video

8 October 2014

Now available on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s website is an advisory video on the Maritime Labour Convention in Australia. Please see the MLC AMSA webpage to view the video.


Reverend Canon Ken Peters speaks to IHS Maritime about the Maritime Labour Convention

8 October 2014

Reverend Canon Ken Peters shares his thoughts with IHS Maritime on the Maritime Labour Convention, work of seafarer welfare providers and current issues facing seafarers’ welfare.

Revd Canon Ken Peters speaks to HIS about MLC


New Bus for Hobart

10 September 2014

Thanks to a generous grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the Mission to Seafarers Hobart has been able to purchase a new Toyota Commuter bus to transport seafarers from the various berths around Hobart to the ‘Flying Angel Centre’.

With the health and well-being of seafarers in mind, the Mission to Seafarers Hobart, provides transport and access to nearby sporting venues to enable crew members to play cricket, tennis and football.  Seafarers also have free access to the Hobart Aquatic Centre, a short walk from the cruise ship berths.

The bus keys were formally handed over by Mr Dean Summers and Mr Matt Purcell, representing the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, to the Mission to Seafarers Australia Liaison Bishop, Dr Chris Jones.  The Hobart Chaplain, the Reverend Bruce Mitchell, expressed gratitude for the assistance given by the Trust for the benefit and safety of seafarers.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: The Flying Angel

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Mr Dean Summers and Mr Matt Purcell, representing the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Seafarers Australia Liaison Bishop, Dr Chris Jones. The Hobart Chaplain, the Reverend Bruce Mitchell.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Mr Dean Summers and Mr Matt Purcell, representing the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Seafarers Australia Liaison Bishop, Dr Chris Jones. The Hobart Chaplain, the Reverend Bruce Mitchell.


Sea Sunday Services

3 September 2014

Many ports around the country recently celebrated Sea Sunday Services, a service to remember and pray for seafarers and their families and give thanks for their lives and work. 

The day is celebrated with services, parades and ship blessings.  At St Peter’s Anglican Church, Wynnum the Sunday school children created posters and coloured in the ‘message in a bottle’ cut-outs and wrote their own message to a seafarer on the bottle.

The message of “Hi Mum, I’m safe in Brisbane” sums up the work of seafarer welfare providers – offering a safe and welcoming place that feels like a home away from home for seafarers.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Sea Sunday poster in PNG thanking seafarers

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Seafarer Sunday poster

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: "Hi Mum, I’m safe in Brisbane" sums up the work of seafarer welfare providers.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: 'Thank you [seafarers]' written on a message bottle as part of the Sea Sunday poster


SeafarerHelp Annual Review 2013

31 July 2014

ASWC is a member of the International Seafarers Welfare Advisory Network (ISWAN), who provides the 24 hour multilingual helpline 'SeafarerHelp' for all seafarers. Operating out of the United Kingdom, this is a confidential, free of charge and independent service for seafarers and their families. SeafarerHelp recently released their annual report on their activities for 2013.

In 2013 the SeafarerHelp team:

  • Dealt with 1,257 cases involving 6,473 seafarers and their families
  • Helped seafarers of 72 different nationalities calling from 98 different countries
  • Had over 36,000 incoming and outgoing contacts by telephone, email, SMS, Livechat and Skype
  • Provided assistance free of charge, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and often in the seafarer’s own language.

There was a 35 per cent increase in the number of cases handled and an increase of 47.5 per cent in the number of seafarers assisted, when compared to 2012.

The most common problems seafarers raised were in relation to unpaid wages, repatriation, contracts, health and seeking employment.

Download the SeafarerHelp Annual Review 2013 (PDF, 3.3 MB).


Sister Mary Leahy - A shining light for seafarers

31 July 2014

AMSA sees the work of many amazing people who share a passion to help improve the lives of tens of thousands of seafarers who visit Australian ports each year.

Sister Mary Leahy from the Sydney Seafarer Centre is one of many wonderful people around Australia who make a difference to seafarers.


Western Australian Seafarer Welfare & Industry Forums
(Port Hedland and Fremantle)

3 July 2014

Western Australian seafarer welfare and industry forums were held with approximately 140 representatives from the shipping industry, unions, seafarer welfare providers and seafarers in Port Hedland (24 June 2014) and Fremantle (26-27 June 2014).  The forums included discussion and updates on: 

  • the Maritime Labour Convention one year on,
  • work of the Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council (ASWC),
  • STCW amendments and changes to Marine Order 3 / Marine Order 70 series, and
  • current ship inspection issues (MO34 – Solid Bulk Cargoes, MO32 – Cargo Handling Equipment, MO43 – Carriage of Livestock and MO41 -  Carriage of dangerous goods).

AMSA has received excellent feedback on the forums to date, with responses identifying all topics presented of interest and considered valuable.  Based on feedback forms received, the following were highlights for attendees:

  • Awareness of seafarer welfare issues;
  • Tremendous work of the seafarer welfare centres, with particular reference to the Port Hedland Seafarers Welfare Centre,
  • Discussions on mental health awareness and issues specific for the maritime industry
  • Fatigue analysis and management presentation,
  • Updates on cargoes issues and STCW Seafarer Certification were of particular interest and attendees found it invaluable to have AMSA on hand to answer any questions or queries specific to WA concerns.

Copies of the presentations may be found here:

Presentations

MLC review and one year on (Port Hedland)
Presented by: Mark Eldon-Roberts, AMSA

MLC and Navigation Act one year on and local MLC issues (Fremantle)
Presented by: Reza Vind, AMSA

Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council and International Labour Organization update
Presented by: Allan Schwartz, AMSA

Welfare issues in Port Hedland
Presented by: Alan Mower, Mission to Seafarers

Welfare Issues – National and international
Presented by: Matt Purcell, International Transport Workers Federation

Port growth and ship issues – Port Hedland
Presented by: John Finch, Port Hedland Port Authority

MLC implications for vessels and ship operations
Presented by: Sarah Cerche, Australian Shipowners Association

Port Hedland’s local MLC issues
Presented by: Mike O’Reilly, AMSA

Fatigue (Fremantle forum only)
Presented by: Michelle Grech, AMSA

Work of the Apostleship of the Sea (Fremantle forum only)
Presented by: Patrick Moore, Apostleship of the Sea

STCW Certification & changes to Marine Order 3 / Marine Order 70 series
Presented by: Mark Eldon-Roberts, AMSA

AMSA Cargoes issues

  • MO43 – Carriage of livestock
  • MO41 – Carriage of dangerous goods
  • MO32 – Review of cargo handling equipment
  • MO34 – Solid bulk cargoes

Presented by: Alex Schultz-Altmann

MO34 – Solid bulk cargoes (Fremantle forum only) [RIO TINO’S PRESENTATION]
Presented by: Alex Schultz-Altmann, AMSA and
Peter Glazebrook, Rio Tinto

Training: now & future initiatives (Fremantle forum only)
Presented by: Mark Eldon-Roberts, AMSA and
Mark Pointon, Farstad Simulator

 

Extract from feedback received:

MLC and all the speakers, MO70 update was excellent

A very informative and passionate look at the welfare of our seafarers.  I was not aware of such an inspirational caring council

Very informative, increased knowledge of welfare groups efforts; initiatives and services

 


ABC Rural – Welfare a key concern for international seafarers

3 July 2014

While in Port Hedland, Allan Schwartz, General Manager SSD gave an interview with ABC Rural. More information can be seen at the ABC Rural website.


Caring for Seafarers

16 June 2014

June and Geoff Harrison run the Port Giles Mission to Seafarers and have decided to travel the country highlighting the welfare issues faced by international crews. June and Geoff dropped by AMSA and had a chat about how they got involved in seafarer welfare and their trip around Australia.


Port Hedland and Fremantle Seafarers' Welfare Forums

14 May 2014

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will be holding two forums on Seafarers' Welfare in Western Australia, commencing 24 June 2014. These events will be held almost 12 months after the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 came into effect, and will look at local and international issues relating to seafarer interests.

The shipping industry and Australian community is dependent on the seafarers that crew the ships of the world’s commercial fleets. The welfare of those seafarers is a major factor in the safe working and operation of the industry. This free Forum is intended for ship owners, managers and agents of ships subject to international conventions and those involved in delivering welfare services to seafarers, or those representing seafarer interests.

Both Forums will be followed by an informative update from AMSA on Navigation Act 2012 matters including MO70 series and cargo issues, specifically in relation to:

  • international regulations and measures to enable export of bulk materials
  • carriage of cargoes and industry research
  • the challenges, pitfalls and training regarding carriage of dangerous goods by sea.

The first forum will be held at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Port Hedland on 24 June, and the second will be held at Esplanade Hotel Fremantle - by Rydges on 26-27 June 2014.

Port Hedland

24 June 2014
Ibis Styles Hotel
Program (PDF, 127 KB)
Registration

Fremantle*

26-27 June 2014
Esplanade Hotel Fremantle
Program (PDF, 530 KB)
Registration

* The Fremantle forum will be held in conjunction with an AMSA information session on STCW certification and national approval of training organisations.

For more information, please contact seafarers_welfare@amsa.gov.au.


Seafarers Happiness Index

25 May 2015

Crewtoo (Crewtoo.com) has launched the Seafarers Happiness Index and the voices and thoughts of seafarers are being heard by industry. The Index has been established to monitor important benchmarks of seafarer satisfaction on a regular basis. The inaugural report shows a seafarer satisfaction level of 6.42 on a scale of 1 to 10 about key issues including general happiness, contact with family, shore leave, wage levels, food, fitness and health, training, interaction onboard, workload, and access to welfare facilities

Fremantle's Flying Angel Club wins Seafarers' Centre of the Year

30 April 2014

Earlier this month, Fremantle's Flying Angel Club was announced as the winner of the prestigious Seafarers' Centre of the Year Award at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.

The award was announced at the 2014 International Seafarers' Welfare Awards, aimed at show-casing best practice in seafarers' welfare in the maritime industry.

The award was given in recognition of the club's state of the art facilities, as well as the commitment and ethos of the club's staff and volunteers as they work to ensure the welfare of visiting seafarers.

The Flying Angel Club came out on top in a strong and diverse field, with other nominees hailing from Bremerhaven and Duckdalben in Germany, Durban in South Africa, Odessa in the Ukraine and Sriracha in Thailand.

Representatives of the Flying Angel Club were in Geneva to accept the award.

AMSA would like to congratulate the Flying Angel Club for this well-deserved international recognition, and the positive message this sends to all involved in seafarers' welfare in Australia.

Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton

Above: Fremantle Flying Angel Club representatives at the ILO, Geneva (L-R) Colin Brown, Ann Robinson and Dennis Claughton.

Defects identified by AMSA surveyors during port State control (PSC)  inspections of ships visiting Australia.

Above: These photos show defects identified by AMSA surveyors during port State control (PSC) inspections of ships visiting Australia. It is not acceptable that seafarers should have to live and work in such environments – this is why the Maritime Labour Convention, AMSA’s PSC inspections, and the work of seafarer welfare organisations such as the Fremantle Flying Angel Club are so important.


Seafarers' Welfare National Awareness Campaign

Geoff and June Harrison from the Mission to Seafarers in Port Giles, South Australia are passionate about working with seafarers. Seafaring men and women usually face many lonely months away from families and loved ones as well as dangerous seas, dangerous working conditions and under the threat of pirate attack in order to transport goods around the world.

Geoff and June Harrison

On 30 March 2014 June and Geoff commenced their 'Seafarers' Welfare National Awareness Campaign' starting from Edithburgh, South Australia. June and Geoff will be visiting over 20 coastal communities during the next 3 months to raise awareness of seafarer welfare issues.

In 2012 at the Lloyds List 17th Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry Awards in Sydney, they, as volunteers at Port Giles Mission to Seafarers, accepted the prestigious trophy for the National Seafarers' Welfare Award for their mission centre.

For more information on where Geoff and June will be please contact Geoff (mobile: 0403 217 933) or June (mobile: 0416 195 286 or jharrisiong@bigpond.com).


Seafarer Welfare in Australia forum

A seafarer welfare forum was held in Sydney on 4 March 2014, with approximately 60 representatives from seafarer welfare providers, shipping agents, unions, industry and government coming together to discuss the welfare and wellbeing of seafarers. Discussions included;

  1. The pivotal role ships agent can have on seafarer welfare.
  2. The importance of owners, agents, welfare providers and authorities all working together to achieve the best outcomes.
  3. The demonstrated need for ongoing dialogue and communication between shipping agents, welfare providers around Australia, unions ship operators and AMSA.

For more information please see the following press releases:

Speaker and audience at the Seafarer Welfare in Australia forum in Sydney

ASWC joins the ISWAN

ISWAN logo

The Australian Seafarers’ Welfare Council (ASWC) recently became a member of the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).

ISWAN works to support the welfare of seafarers all over the world. By supporting organisations and bodies that provide direct welfare services to seafarers through welfare facilities and services in port and on ships.

In particular, ISWAN works for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006, with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations and ports for the benefit of seafarers' welfare.

Membership of ISWAN will provide Australia access to a network of 42 organisations and individuals involved in the welfare of seafarers all over the world. This shared knowledge and experience will be invaluable to further develop seafarers’ welfare in Australia.


AOS Regional Coordinators Forum in Rome

The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) Regional Coordinators work with AOS National Directors and local Bishop Promoters, responding to the needs of seafarers in an ever-changing maritime world. The AOS recently held a Regional Coordinators forum in Rome, focussing on how to move forward as a global organisation in addressing issues related to seafarer welfares amid ongoing financial constraints.

Sister Mary Leahy was recently appointed as the Australian Regional Coordinator and attended this meeting. Two interesting highlights of the forum included a talk by Roberto Giorgi, V. Ships President.

Sister Mary presenting a Supporting Seafarers Hi-Vis vest to Pope Francis

Mr Girogi provided his insights into current shipping trends, the impacts of current global economic shifts and the where the biggest movement of commodities are - Australia being included on this list. Knowing shipping trends greatly assists in providing effectively seafarers’ welfare services.

For Sister Mary it was refreshing to hear Mr Giorgi focus such respect for the human element onboard or ashore, “Our assets are the people on board and ashore, so for us, a ship management company, the human element is the most important element of all”. A full transcript is available on the Vatican Radio website.

The second unexpected highlight was Sister Mary’s chance audience with Pope Francis, whom she presented with a ‘Supporting Seafarers’ Hi-Vis vest.

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ITF Seafarers
Ports Australia
Australian Shipowners Association
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Shipping Australia Limited
The Australian Mariners' Welfare Society
Mission to Seafarers
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Apostleship of the Sea