Sailors’ Society Launches Crises Response Centre to Aid Seafarers

Saturday / July 4, 2015

Copy of Sailors-SocietyThe Sailors’ Society, one of the largest seafarer support charities operating internationally, has launched a Crisis Response Centre to support seafarers in need throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The Durban based Centre offers a rapid response service to assist traumatised seafarers after piracy attacks and other crisis-at-sea situations. A comprehensive network of trained port chaplains, drawn from a range of maritime welfare agencies, will provide a 24-hour service in South Africa, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Reunion.

Revd. Boet van Schalkwyk will head the Centre, which was launched alongside the Sailors’ Society Wellness at Sea programme at the International Maritime Lecturers’ Association (IMLA) Annual Conference on 1 July.

Revd. van Schalkwyk, CEO of Sailors’ Society South Africa, said the Centre was developed in response to an evolving trend in seafarer demand.

“We were finding that traumatised crews were no longer being dispatched to Durban after their release, which raised fears that they were being repatriated before receiving front-line trauma counselling. By making this resource available, we can meet this need for seafarers as near after an incident as possible”.

The recent Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) report on the State of Maritime Piracy reported that at least 5,000 seafarers were attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, the Western Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia in 2014, and drew attention to West Africa noting that “Gulf of Guinea piracy continues at unacceptable levels”.

Research by OBP found that seafarers could exhibit symptoms similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder simply passing through areas at high risk of piracy, making the need for Centre’s services as vital as ever.

SNM Events News Service
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