St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda- 6th November, 2015… A Port Welfare Committee is being established to develop a collaborative and holistic approach to providing assistance and support to seafarers residing in or visiting Antigua and Barbuda.
The pilot project is part of a world-wide initiative of the International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) funded by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Seafarers’ Trust, and is focused on improving the welfare services and support made available to seafarers when they call at different ports around the world.
Management of the pilot project has been undertaken by the UK Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in both operating and setting up welfare boards known locally as ‘Port Welfare Committees’.
Currently Antigua and Barbuda has no organization formally providing the services to seafarers that are provided in many parts of the world by such organizations as the Mission to Seafarers.
The Antigua and Barbuda Port Welfare Committee (PWC) seeks to provide a forum in which representatives from organizations, which deal with the welfare of seafarers, can meet to discuss and co-ordinate their actions. It is intended to cover all the ports in Antigua and Barbuda and cover the interests of not just merchant seafarers on visiting cargo and cruise ships but also those involved in the local small commercial vessels as well as the commercial yachting and fishing industries.
In addition to the large number of seafarers visiting the islands there are also a large number working on over 1000 internationally trading merchant ships registered here. PWC’s bring together representatives from the local maritime community to support and improve seafarers’ welfare facilities and services.
Once established the PWC will meet regularly (up to 3 times per year) to discuss and resolve seafarers’ welfare issues with representatives from relevant organizations such as the Port Authority, Labour Department, Trade Unions, Maritime Administration, shipping agents and voluntary organizations. Issues often raised by Seafarers are such things as Wi-Fi access, transport and local information. It is anticipated that a survey of visiting seafarers’ will be undertaken to establish their needs more accurately soon after the establishment of the PWC.
Project Manager and MNWB Deputy Chief Executive, Peter Tomlin will be visiting Antigua and Barbuda to attend the inaugural meeting and said that the island has been chosen as one of the initial group of ports under this initiative to increase the amount of Port Welfare Committees across the globe and help develop a suitable model PWC for use in similar countries throughout the world.
“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 in foreign countries for only short periods of time”
“A port visit offers an important opportunity for a seafarer to rest and unwind, receive care, to communicate with their families, to see a doctor, to seek advice or visit local shops.”
“Port Welfare Committees support the welfare service providers who operate these invaluable services and help improve the lives of our seafarers’ Mr Tomlin said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS) will initially co-ordinate the various groups and representatives involved in the PWC. Marine Surveyor Darion Lake, himself an Antiguan Seafarer, will chair the first meeting and Annabel Fuller, Executive Assistant to the Director of the Government Maritime Administration, has volunteered as the PWC administrator to get it started.
The inaugural meeting will be held on 17th November, 2015 at 1100hrs with the venue to be finalized shortly. It is also planned to hold a seminar the following day to discuss some aspects such as ship visiting and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) in a bit more detail.
Contact has already been made with many of the relevant organizations but anyone else interested in attending the PWC or Seminar should contact; Annabel Fuller or Darion Lake at ADOMS on (268) 462-1273.View | Download