Post-Piracy Care for Seafarers

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) has published Preliminary Guidelines: Post-Piracy Care for Seafarers, outlining preliminary strategies on caring for seafarers (merchant mariners) affected by piracy. The document, based on cutting-edge mental health research and ongoing discussions with shipowners, crewing agencies, representatives of governments, and other stakeholders in the industry, provides practical guidelines for the maritime industry.
SCI presented the Preliminary Guidelines to Working Group Three of the United Nations Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia on January 27, prior to the Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group the following day. SCI also plans to submit the document to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the meeting of the Maritime Security Committee in May.

About the Clinical Study:
In order to devote more attention to caring for seafarers affected by piracy, SCI initiated the first-ever Post Piracy Trauma Assessment and Treatment study. Clinical Researcher Michael Garfinkle, PhD heads SCI’s clinical study in conjunction with Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. The clinical study seeks to identify unique stressors of piracy hostage situations, along with immediate and ongoing medical evaluation strategies for crewmembers and their families. Study outcomes include plans for clinically assessing seafarers after piracy incidents, assisting families during prolonged piracy episodes, and triaging short- and long-term mental health treatment.
Based on experience gained through the clinical study and stakeholder responses, SCI will update Preliminary Guidelines, available online at
SCI desires to speak with seafarers who have experienced piracy, including attacks, hostage-taking, or simply sailing through high risk piracy areas. Contact Clinical Researcher Michael Garfinkle, PhD at +1 212 349 9090 ext. 240 or by email at SCI researchers strictly protect privacy.

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