The Port of Antwerp has won the “Port of the Year” award for a second time at the Seafarers’ Welfare Awards organised by the
International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). Chief Operations Officer Christiaan De Block accepted the
award on behalf of Antwerp Port Authority at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva. The award is in
recognition of the efforts made on a daily basis by the Antwerp port community on behalf of the many seafarers. “We are a
port of and for people. We see this second Award not as an end point but as a milestone along the way to a future in which we
will continue our efforts unabated to make Antwerp a home port for everyone,” declared Christiaan De Block at the
The other winners of the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2014 are:
— Port of the Year: port of Antwerp
— Shipping Company of the Year: Wallem Ship Management
— Seafarer Centre of the Year: Flying Angel Club (Australia)
— Dr Dierk Lindemann Welfare Personality of the Year: Fr Paul Noel (South Africa)
— Judges’ Special Award: Ms Apinya Tajit (Thailand)
The port of Antwerp has a long tradition of offering material and spiritual care for seafarers, irrespective of religion,
skin colour, language or religious conviction. In fact there have been seamen’s missions in Antwerp from as early as 1870.
The Antwerp port community attaches great importance to the welfare of visiting seafarers, offering them free bus transport,
computers, wifi and sports facilities so that they can relax and keep in touch while they are away from home. There is also a
new version of the Welfare Brochure with details of what the city and port have to offer, and last year the Antwerp Harbour
Hotel opened with budget-friendly accommodation for seafarers.
In its citation the jury stated: “The Judges were greatly impressed by the consistent commitment of the Port Antwerp to the
welfare of seafarers. In particular, the free port-wide wifi, the free shuttle bus for seafarers, and the close cooperation
between the port and the welfare organisation made the Port of Antwerp’s entry stand out”
The port of Antwerp is particularly pleased with this second Welfare Award. “The seafarers are an essential link in the
international logistics chains that bind our city and port to the rest of the world. We maintain an open dialogue with the
welfare organisations and are constantly concerned with the welfare of seafarers because they are the people who make the
port what it is today and will be tomorrow,” Christiaan De Block continued.
Roger Harris, Executive Director van ISWAN, declared “These awards honour the companies, organisations and individuals who
make extra efforts to guarantee the health and welfare of seafarers. Hopefully they will inspire others to make similar
efforts. We are also pleased that the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards ceremony is being held at the ILO in Geneva,
eight months after the Maritime Labour Convention came into force.”
The Welfare Personality of the Year award is named after Dr Dierk Lindemann (ILO) who passed away on 17 March 2014. Dr
Lindemann played an important role in setting up the Maritime Labour Convention, which among other things regulates the
working and living conditions for seafarers.
The jury for the International Seafarer’s Welfare Awards this year was made up of Masamichi Morooka (president of the
International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping), Steve Cotton (acting secretary-general of the
International Transport Workers’ Federation), Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (director of the International Labour Standards
Department of the International Labour Organisation) and Fr Bruno Cesari, (chairman of the International Christian Maritime
The awards are sponsored by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust. Other parties involved in the awards are the International Labour
Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF),
International Shipping Federation (ISF), and International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).
Port of Antwerp