The MCA is very pleased to support this initiative because MLC, 2006 - also known as the ‘Seafarers Bill of Rights’ - encourages the establishment of Welfare Boards at local, regional and national levels.
Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive, Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
"Welcome to the ISWAN International Port Welfare Partnership. This is a project aiming to improve seafarers’ welfare by helping different countries and ports create Welfare Boards. It is an initiative set up in line with International Labour Organisations’, Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. This is a major Convention which we at MCA - along with our Ship Owner and Seafarers Union ‘tripartite’ colleagues - played a vitally important role in bringing into force internationally.
We at MCA are very confident that Welfare Boards make a real difference to the lives of seafarers on the front line. So much so that, over the past few years, MCA representatives have joined and become active members of the UK’s 16 local Welfare Boards, which are known as ‘Port Welfare Committees’.
We feel that bringing the local maritime community together for 3 Welfare Boards meetings per year not only helps improve seafarers’ welfare but also adds value to the work we do. Indeed, I am pleased to say that one of the MCA’s Principal Surveyors is Chairman of the UK Southern Ports Welfare Committee, which includes the busy ports of Southampton and Portsmouth.
The MCA recognises the need for seafarers to have easy access to shore-based welfare facilities. We are extremely proud of the warm welcome we in the UK give to seafarers of all nations visiting our ports. I should also like to say that many thousands of seafarers, both domestic and foreign, benefit from the support and facilities provided by Voluntary Organisations – such as Seafarers Centres, port transport and ship visits and long may this continue.
For countries and ports with less well-developed welfare systems we commend the pilot project to you as a very good starting point. Welfare Boards are an excellent, cost effective way of bringing the maritime community together to enhance the quality of life for our seafarers, and I recommend you consider joining the project today."