Seafarer Welfare Initiatives Unite
The boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are moving the activities of the MPHRP into ISWAN. A transfer agreement was signed on August 3.
ISWAN will now be responsible for all the activities of the highly respected MPHRP. The move to ISWAN will enable the program to develop under the auspices of a well-established international seafarers’ welfare organization that is registered as a charity.
The program will continue to support the seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy. While piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia have significantly decreased, attacks are on the increase in South East Asia and continuing in the Gulf of Guinea. The MPHRP program will concentrate on these areas while still supporting seafarers who were held for years in Somalia. The program will seek to develop constructive and positive relationships with existing and new industry partners.
ISWAN has already appointed a new program manager, Tom Holmer, to lead the MPHRP in this new phase of its development. The program in South Asia will continue while an immediate priority will be to secure funding to continue the program in South East Asia and Eastern Europe.
Peter Hinchliffe, speaking on behalf of the MPHRP Board said “The MPHRP Board decided some time ago that the best way to provide the very best long term stability for the support of seafarers and their families caught up in the appalling acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean and in Somalia was to find a permanent home under the umbrella of an existing and highly respected seafarers’ charity. Attacks on merchant ships and seafarers are still happening and we must ensure that the MPHRP is there to support seafarers if they are attacked and to prepare them for passages through high risk areas.”
Jon Whitlow, Secretary of the Seafarers Section of the International Transport Workers Federation said “We are pleased that the program can now continue as part of ISWAN. The ITF will play its role, with other industry partners, to ensure that piracy, with its devastating effect upon seafarers and their families, is not forgotten about.”
Per Gullestrup, Chairman of ISWAN and former Managing Partner of Clipper whose ship CEC Future, and its crew, was hijacked off Somalia and held for 71 days said “I am delighted that the program is coming into ISWAN. MPHRP has done outstanding work in the past and I believe ISWAN is the right organization to take the program forward. We look forward to working with current and new partners on developing MPHRP.”
Other key industry partners involved in the MPHRP, such as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Maritime Bureau, fully support the move of the program into ISWAN.
Commenting on the news CEO of Human Rights at Sea, David Hammond, said “This is superb news for the future of what is a highly valuable humanitarian program and which has already achieved impressive results. ISWAN is the ideal place for assuring the charitable future of MPHRP with clear industry support and wider international engagement.”