The boards of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) have decided to move the activities of the MPHRP into ISWAN.
A transfer agreement was signed by both parties on August 3, 2015.
The programme will continue to support the seafarers and their families who are affected by piracy. While piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia have significantly decreased, attacks are on the increase in South East Asia and continuing in the Gulf of Guinea. The MPHRP programme will concentrate on these areas while still supporting seafarers who were held for years in Somalia.
ISWAN has already appointed a new programme manager, Tom Holmer, to lead the MPHRP in this new phase of its development. The programme in South Asia will continue while an immediate priority will be to secure funding to continue the programme in South East Asia and Eastern Europe.
Peter Hinchliffe, speaking on behalf of the MPHRP Board, said: “The MPHRP Board decided some time ago that the best way to provide the very best long term stability for the support of seafarers and their families caught up in the appalling acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean and in Somalia was to find a permanent home under the umbrella of an existing and highly respected seafarers’ charity. Attacks on merchant ships and seafarers are still happening and we must ensure that the MPHRP is there to support seafarers if they are attacked and to prepare them for passages through high risk areas.”
Other industry partners involved in the MPHRP, such as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Maritime Bureau, fully support the move of the programme into ISWAN.
Jon Whitlow, Secretary of the Seafarers Section of the International Transport Workers Federation, said: “We are pleased that the programme can now continue as part of ISWAN. The ITF will play its role, with other industry partners, to ensure that piracy, with its devastating effect upon seafarers and their families, is not forgotten about.”