Popular ship visiting course refreshed with focus on rights at sea and security

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The Merchant Navy Welfare Board’s (MNWB) popular Ship Welfare Visitor course has been updated with a greater emphasis on rights at sea and security.

The course is aimed at all employees and volunteers of charities within the maritime sector, from port chaplains carrying out ship visits to volunteers driving the local seafarer centre minibus.

The course equips ship welfare visitors with a basic appreciation of protocol, security, safety, and other issues related to port facilities and ships. The updated version places greater emphasis on The MLC 2006 (Seafarers’ Bill of Rights) and C188 (Fishers Rights) and more in-depth coverage of the ISPS – International Ship Port Security Code.

Successful students will receive a photographic identity card, with details of their parent society, which is intended to be a widely recognised credential by port authorities and ship masters.

Commenting on the updated course, Sharon Coveney, the Deputy Chief Executive of MNWB which is the umbrella charity for UK Merchant Navy with 45 constituent members, said: “Being able to visit seafarers, who in some cases are away from their families for most of the year, is an invaluable and rewarding experience. It’s this course which allows this to happen as it’s designed to ensure the right training and support is given to anyone stepping on board a ship.

“The improvements we’ve made to the original course are subtle but have a greater focus on rights at sea and security; two elements which will really enhance visits for both parties going forward.”

Since the course launched in 2016, it has amassed more than 1,000 registrations. It is delivered in partnership with North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) and is approved by the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).

Jason Zuidema, Executive Director of NAMMA and General Secretary of ICMA, said: “Though a basic friendliness and desire to welcome seafarers is something ship visitors bring with them to the work, there are many other skills that they need to learn to be effective long-term. The ship welfare visitor course online helps new ship visitors get acquainted with the maritime world, learn about the many other partners in the work globally, and get integrated into the safety culture of their local port.”

The course intends to:
• Provide an overview of shipping and seafarers’ welfare organisations
• Introduce general maritime industry custom and practice
• Describe ship types, shipboard organisation, trades and specific hazards
• Enable good practice of personal safety when visiting port facilities and ships
• Highlight current security issues
• Explain basic goals of ship visiting, and improve individuals’ ship visiting
• Explain the basic elements of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

To register for the course, click here.

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