Center For Seafarers News

13 Sep 2019

LSC Named World’s Best Seafarers’ Center

Ronald Spithout, President of Inmarsat, presents ISWAN's Seafarer Centre of the Year award to LSC CEO John Wilson. (Photo: ISWAN)

Liverpool Seafarers Center (LSC) in the UK has been named the world’s best seafarer center at an awards ceremony held during London International Shipping Week.LSC, which is based in Crosby and Eastham, won the International Seafarer Welfare Award due to “the exceptional care it offers visiting seafarers and their families”. The Seafarer Center of the Year is voted for by seafarers, 50,000 of whom use the center’s services in Liverpool and along the River Mersey every year. This includes providing emotional support…

16 Sep 2014

Video: Former Captives Discuss Iceberg 1 Hijacking

Jewel Ahiable of the MV Iceberg I

Think Somali piracy is a thing of the past? That “past” haunts thousands of seafarers today; but the reports from individual seafarers mostly go unnoticed, as some shipowners leave seafarers high and dry after release—ignored and uncompensated. Their stories tell of trying times in the wake of survival. The Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, recently sat down with former hostages from the MV Iceberg 1 in Accra, Ghana to hear about their experiences and how they find life two years after release from pirate captivity.

28 Jul 2014

SCI Publishes Shore Leave Survey

With Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), 2006 in force, one might expect to see a reduction in the number of seafarers without visas; yet, recent data collected by the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) shows that not only are shipowners failing to pay for crewmember visas as required by the Convention but also flag states are failing to enforce the requirement. Shore leave significantly improves seafarers’ health and the safe and efficient operation of a vessel. The SCI’s Center for…

19 Nov 2012

Conference Pushes Ratification of MLC, 2006

Panelists say U.S. may be at competitive disadvantage by not adopting “MLC, 2006”. Panelists at a major symposium on an international maritime agreement today said the U.S. may be at a competitive economic disadvantage if it doesn’t approve what more than 30 other shipping nations have adopted. The symposium, hosted by the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, the Charleston School of Law and its Charleston Maritime Law Institute, focused discussion on the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006, also known as “MLC, 2006.”  The most significant development in seafarers’ rights law in history, it provides a comprehensive statement of seafarers’ working conditions that balance tradition and modern shipping realities.

14 Nov 2012

Short List Announced for the 2012 International Seafarers' Welfare Awards

The International Seafarers' Welfare Awards, aimed at show-casing best practice in seafarers' welfare in the maritime industry, will take place on November 28, 2012 at the IMO in London. - Port of the Year: Port of Corpus Christi, USA; Kandla Port, India and Port of Singapore, Singapore. - Seafarer Center of the Year: The Flying Angel Club Fremantle, Australia; Mission to Seafarers Sydney, Australia; Mission to Seafarers Vancouver & Roberts Bank, Canada; Seafarers' House Port Everglades, USA; Seamen's Club Welcome Bremerhaven, Germany. -  Drop-in Center of the Year: The Seafarers' Welcome Center, Chennai; and The International Drop-in Center for Seafarers, Singapore.

21 Feb 2012

Seafarer Voices: Piracy on the High Seas

A YouTube video series describing pirate attacks. Among discussions of anti-piracy measures in the Gulf of Aden and special courtrooms in the Seychelles and Mauritius, the maritime industry has begun to broach a gentler, less politically hot topic in the wake of 237 pirate attacks off coast of Somalia in 2011. What happens to seafarers, held often for months on end, after release from a pirate hijacking? Their untold stories comprise part of a video interview compilation by the…

14 Oct 2010

Programs for Seafarers Move to the Heart of the Port

This month, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) begins reopening its renovated International Seafarers’ Center in Port Newark, N.J. In addition to a substantial hospitality center for the Port’s maritime workforce, the three-story building presents a new home for several important SCI programs, closely integrating them with the activity of the largest container terminal complex on the East Coast. Attorneys for SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, who provide professional legal services for seafarers around the globe, will now operate from the third floor of SCI’s new International Seafarers’ Center in Port Newark. SCI also moves its Christmas at Sea “Knitting Room…

02 Aug 2009

A Journey Through the Gulf of Aden

On Sunday, August 2, Douglas B. The waters off the coast of Somalia drew media attention when, in April, a container ship owned by United States-based Maersk Line Limited was seized. The ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, was taken hostage by pirates and held at gunpoint for five days. The attack was one of 80 in the area since the beginning of 2009. The Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, the world’s only full-time, free legal aid program for merchant mariners, says that he hopes to draw attention to the professional seafarers themselves and their work, which is vital to the world’s prosperity. To collect data and give exposure to his expedition, Stevenson will make careful observations and share many of them in real-time using Twitter.

20 Apr 2009

Caring for the Victims of Piracy

In response to recent, high-profile incidents of piracy off the coast of the East African nation of Somalia, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), an ecumenical agency affiliated with the Episcopal Church, launches new efforts to increase awareness of the effects of piracy on its mariner victims post-attack. These efforts include the submission of a resolution to the International Maritime Organization earlier this month, a church-relations campaign, and the draft of an open letter to international governments and the maritime industry. “SCI is concerned that the effects of pirate attacks on seafarer victims and their families are not well understood and that few resources exist to care for piracy victims,” said Douglas B.

12 Feb 2009

SCI Celebrates 175th Anniversary

In 2009, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) celebrates 175 years of service to the maritime community, assisting the world’s over 1 million mariners with programs and services. From early days as a small, grassroots mission of the Episcopal Church, SCI has grown to be the largest and most comprehensive mariner’s agency in North America. To celebrate the significant heritage, the Institute hosts several special events in 2009, giving insight into the unique work of SCI. “The organization remains committed to its mission and continued work on behalf of mariners,” said John McGrath, Senior Development Officer at SCI. McGrath says that the events planned for the Anniversary celebrate a record of achievement and also showcase the importance of maritime commerce to the world.

09 Sep 2003

IMO Establishes Philippines Regional Presence Office

IMO initiated a milestone today with the inauguration of the first IMO Regional Presence Office in the Asian region. The opening of the office for the East Asian sub-region follows the successful establishment of three regional presence offices in Africa: the IMO regional co-ordinators are located in Kenya, for Eastern and Southern Africa subregion; Ghana, for West and Central Africa (Anglophone) subregion; and Abidjan, for West and Central Africa (Francophone) sub-region. The IMO regional co-ordinator for East Asian sub-region will be Brenda Pimentel, who was previously the overseas shipping director of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in the Philippines.

12 Nov 2003

CSR Encourages Advocacy Campaign

document. the international community," said Douglas B. Center for Seafarers' Rights. Organization to develop the seafarers' identification document. addressed to Secretary Ridge. 212-349-9090.

13 Nov 2003

Stowaways Endangered by U.S. Shore Leave Policy

across the country show United States policies that endanger stowaways. Rights (CSR) in October. Department of Homeland Security. stowaways. shore leave because they posed a potential security risk. justified by evidence of a threat. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. crew), endangers the lives of stowaways. States ports," said Mr. Stevenson. The most common reason for denial of shore leave is the lack of a visa. (ILO-185). positively verifiable and internationally acceptable identification. status. Some of the security/shore leave issues have already been resolved. leave for crews. shore leave to seafarers. October 11, 2003. Texas. denial nationwide. seafarers' rights issues. to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide.

21 Jun 2004

CSR to UN: Halt Criminalization of Ship Crews

Douglas B. incidents. seafarers where no criminal culpability exists. available scapegoats," said Mr. Stevenson. counter-productive to marine safety and pollution prevention. discourage crews from participating in casualty investigations. testifying to a casualty investigation. attract to sea-going careers? questioned Mr. Stevenson. Mr. the Law of the Sea Convention. the rule of law created by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. Delegates can rise to the challenge. its rule of law," concluded Mr. Stevenson. research, education, advocacy and assistance on seafarers' rights issues. seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. improving maritime safety. International Labor Organization in Geneva. Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S.

24 Aug 2004

Seafarers' Access to Shore Leave Improves Despite Stringent July 1 Security

operators. visa was still the reason why most foreign seafarers are denied shore leave. security-based obstacles to shore leave have not gone away. getting a U.S. visa is still an issue for many seafarers," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., Director of SCI's Center for Seafarers' Rights. Transportation Security Act (mandatory as of 1 July 2004). conducted previous surveys in February 2003 and in October 2003. shore leave. crew detentions. reason. terminal operators denying shore leave to ships' crews. in being allowed to board cruise vessels. ships by representatives of seafarers' welfare organizations. Oceanport, DE City). security regulations, including shore leave denial, worldwide.

02 Apr 2002

CSR Demands that the U.S. End Crew Visas

Seafarers Rights (CSR) called for the United States to eliminate crew visas. remaining crewmembers clearly demonstrates the need for the United States to review its shore leave policies. "A flawed crew visa policy resulted in the disciplining of the INS officer in the Norfolk case, while threatening to tighten already overly restricted shore leave controls -without enhancing national security," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights said in a letter to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. "The condition of a vessel and the treatment of its crew provide a far better means of evaluating ship-jumping risks," continued Mr. is a former U.S. Coast Guard Commander.

01 Apr 2002

The Center for Seafarers' Rights Demands End to Crew Visas

The Seamen's Church Institute's Center for Seafarers Rights (CSR) today called for the United States to eliminate crew visas. The recent incident of four Pakistani seafarers jumping ship after receiving visa waivers and the subsequent denial of shore leave for the ship's remaining crewmembers clearly demonstrates the need for the United States to review its shore leave policies. "A flawed crew visa policy resulted in the disciplining of the INS officer in the Norfolk case, while threatening to tighten already overly restricted shore leave controls -without enhancing national security," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights said in a letter to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

16 Dec 2004

CSR Condemns Forced Detention of Seafarers

Douglas B. Environmental Protections, to protect the human and legal rights of seafarers during investigations of environmental accidents. U.S. port chaplains recently reported several cases of forced detentions of seafarers to the Institute. "In one of the most troubling reports, mariner witnesses were shackled and held in immigration prison when their company refused to continue paying for a hotel," said Mr. Stevenson. pollution. environmental crimes. environmental crimes. losing the ability to return home," said Mr. Stevenson. environmental crimes. Department of Justice's detention policies. "U.S. respect instead of as criminals. crimes," said Mr. Stevenson. Some Examples of Seafarers Detained in U.S. · Seward, Alaska. July 2004. material witnesses in an illegal dumping case.

29 Mar 2005

CSR Lobbies on Imprisoned Seafarer's Behalf

As 13 Russian and Romanian seafarers who have languished for 17 months in a Nigerian prison wait, Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., the Director of the Seamen's Church Institute's (SCI) Center for Seafarers' Rights, today urged His Excellency Professor George A. Obiozor

21 Jun 2006

Hearing Conducted on USCG Authorizing Legislation

The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a Hearing on Coast Guard authorizing legislation. This hearing was with regard to the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2006. Committee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) indicated that the bill would, among other things, authorize nearly $8.3 billion in funding for the Coast Guard in fiscal year 2007. Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Chief Counsel and Judge Advocate General, US Coast Guard, testified concerning provisions in the bill of particular interest, including merchant mariner credentials and tonnage measurement. Myron H. Nordquist, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, testified in favor of proposed amendments to the penalty wage statutes. Douglas B.

16 Sep 2002

CSR Tracks Unscrupulous Recruiting Firm

The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey is again protesting the illegal recruiting practices of Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC. Over the past week, CSR received several reports that the Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC, a United Arab Emirates company, is offering to recruit Indian nationals for positions aboard cruise ships by contacting various employment agencies in India, including the OverSeas Comm. Company. office. "Al-Najat is cheating poor people again," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. from skeptical people researching the company on the internet reveals that even they really want to believe the ads.

18 Sep 2002

Unsung Heroes Become Victims of 9/11

Merchant Mariners? When the public's attention is preoccupied with the 9/11 anniversary and with sword rattling about a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, how do merchant mariners enter our consciousness? The simple answer is that they don't. To most Americans, merchant mariners are out of sight and out of mind, despite our absolute dependence upon them in peace and in war. More than ninety percent of everything that we consume in our peacetime global economy - from our morning coffee to the car that takes us home from work - has traveled on a ship. The vast majority of international trade with the United States is on foreign flag ships with foreign crews. Our military depends on both American and foreign merchant mariners to sustain their operations.

16 Jul 2003

CSR Protests New Rule that Further Erodes Shore Leave in U.S. Ports

U.S. State Department. States. In December 2002, the U.S. eliminate crew list visas. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq. Rights. International Labor Organization on the identity card issue," said Mr. Stevenson. crewmember visas at all. seafarers' rights issues. to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. protecting seafarers and improving maritime safety. New York City, and the International Labor Organization in Geneva. Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S. Guard Officer, retiring as a Commander. While in the Coast Guard, Mr. to the United Nations. Academy and the University of Miami School of Law.