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Vol. 5, 2019


PUBLISHER JASON ZUIDEMA EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE Michael Skaggs and Kevin Walker CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Walker, Michael Skaggs, Jason Zuidema, Susan Huppert, Sharon Coveney, Carolyn Graham, David Reid, Kunal Narayan PHOTOGRAPHY Cover NAMMA International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network. All photos are copyright NAMMA unless otherwise noted. DESIGN & GRAPHICS Marie Cuffaro In Partnership with Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of The MARE Report or of NAMMA. For guidelines or queries: executivedirector@namma.org For other programs of NAMMA or more information on the organization, visit its website at www.namma.org.

NAMMA, 123 Haven St., PO Box 160, Reading, MA 01867 President REV. MARSH L. DREGE NAMMA exists to provide a network for encouragement, training, and coordination of ministries that serve port communities in North America. THE MARE REPORT © NAMMA 2019 ISSN: 2380-5765 ISBN: 978-0-9905823-7-3 1

FROM THE EDITOR Now in its fifth year, The MARE Report is an initiative of the North American Maritime Ministry Association in partnership with the Mission to Seafarers and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA). NAMMA’s core objectives are to connect, provide opportunities for training, and encourage seafarers’ welfare professionals in North America and with our partners around the world. The MARE Report title (pronounced mar-A) means “the sea” in Latin, the ancient ecumenical language. Though produced in North America, we have designed The MARE Report to reflect conversations happening around the world. The stylized E also acknowledges that we live in an electronic age. We hope this magazine will be informative and inspire its readers to become more involved in caring for seafarers, fishers and their families. DR. JASON ZUIDEMA, EDITOR

NAMMA Executive Director

To keep up-to-date with all our activities and find out how you can be involved in seafarers’ welfare, sign up for NAMMA’s email newsletter by contacting executivedirector@namma.org.



“I know chaplains who are hurting”: Confronting Isolation Susan Huppert


Responding with Compassion to Those in Need: Archbishop Hiltz on Mission to Seafarers' Jason Zuidema


In Praise of Port Welfare Committees Sharon Coveney


Finding Fulfillment in Chaplaincy Susan Huppert


Growing in Service at the Houston School 2019 Kevin Walker


MLC, 2006: Mixed Blessings for Seafarers Carolyn Graham and Kunal Narayan


The Importance of Partnerships for Seafarers Wellbeing Jason Zuidema


New Chaplaincy Connections Michael Skaggs


Maritime Ministry in Books: Reviews

36 38 42 2

The Lighthouse: A Friend of the Mariner David Reid Year in Review: NAMMA and ICMA’s Annual Activity Thank You! NAMMA Partners



“I know chaplains who are hurting”: confronting isolation ISOLATION GOES VIRAL BY SUSAN HUPPERT, NAMMA


he poet John Donne’s line, “no man is an island,” is not only great poetry, but a human reality: people need to be connected. Yet loneliness and isolation seep into our lives even in a time of countless options to be in touch. Connect is the new buzzword among churches and advertising appeals. Many churches are prioritizing small groups to develop cohesiveness among parishioners. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy made news in 2017 when in an article for the Harvard Business Review he identified loneliness and isolation as an epidemic crisis. Not an issue or consideration – a crisis. A 2010 study by psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad noted that people with strong social connections were significantly less likely to die over a given period of time than those who were more socially


isolated. She wrote that as we become increasingly aware of the importance of social connections, Governments from Australia, Denmark, Japan and the UK are starting to take loneliness more seriously. British lawmakers have set up a commission to tackle loneliness. In April 2017, the US Senate Committee on Aging held a hearing on the subject. Sen. Mike Lee launched a multi-year study of social relationships in our lives, including workplaces. The World Health Organization lists “social support networks” as a positive health factor. Chaplains and other caregivers often have to wrestle with loneliness because of the position they occupy on the outskirts of meaningful relationships. Chaplains give from the gut. The work they do is not merely mechanical, but the sacrificial work of being present to others

Chaplains and other caregivers often have to wrestle with loneliness because of the position they occupy on the outskirts of meaningful relationships. Chaplains give from the gut.

in need. In seafarer chaplaincy the needs are often personal and critical. Chaplains board ships specifically to be face-to-face with people who have no one else designated to care for them. The number of ships and seafarers in port often exceeds chaplains’ availability. Caregivers are tied to the work they do not because the pay or benefits are great, but because of a core commitment to care for others’ emotional and practical needs. The essence of this commitment is that the caregiver cannot expect those for whom they care to be able to reciprocate; the isolation

of the cared-for is unfortunately often even greater than the caregiver’s. Whether following Christ’s command to love a seafarer we may never see again, or caring for a family member who may never recover, when we invest ourselves in caregiving we quickly learn just how real isolation is.

Serving in obscurity Chaplains can also feel isolated in their own communities. When people are unfamiliar with what you do, they find it difficult

to connect. Reverend Ron Baker, former board president for Anchor House, Inc. in Port Manatee, Fla. describes the dynamic of serving in obscurity: “Anybody heavily invested in caregiving, because of the level of their investment, will not be understood by their peers. People will not be able to relate to chaplains when there is no shared interest. Most people don’t have a deep curiosity for a world that is different than their own. They do not have the ability to dialogue deeply with those who have a world unlike theirs. 5

So if the curiosity level is low they cannot care deeply.” Chaplain Michelle DePooter-Francis serves as chaplain in the Port of Montreal, where she began as an intern 19 years ago. Despite the city’s major port and waterways, she still finds that the public is ignorant of what the shipping industry includes. Outreach and the plight of seafarers remains behind a fog. “They [the public] have no frame of reference,” she said. When visitors tour the Port of Montreal, I commonly hear, ‘I had no idea this was here.’” DePooter-Francis seeks larger groups like prayer meetings to connect, but finds fitting in to be a challenge. She meets monthly with a peer group of Christian Reformed pastors, but her contribution is foreign to them. The challenges she faces have no connection to theirs. She says that when you don’t fit, you can tend to withdraw and become lonely: “It is easy to become isolated.” Feedback is similar across the continent. “A lot of people don’t understand and are unaware of ministry among seafarers,” agrees Reverend Philip Vandercook, director of Global Maritime Ministries in New Orleans. Even though 90 percent of what we use in our lives moves on a ship at some point, “many don’t think about ports or that there are people living and working on ships.”  

Challenges of serving Vandercook oversees six chaplains in two ministry centers. He has been the director since 1991 and spent 35 years in service to seafarers. He contends that another reason isolation persists in chaplaincy is the nature of the work and its demands on one’s schedule. Serving a community of people who are mobile and have restricted access to support because of working hours or visa restrictions means a chaplain needs to be available when the seafarer is free. Consequently, some chaplains are challenged to attend religious services regularly. This is particularly hard in smaller ministries where the chaplain is the only full-time staff member. This represents not only detachment from spiritual care, but also from some of chaplains’ most intimate social circles. Isolation among chaplains is magnified on the waterfront, where contact with those served is brief and the needs are varied. Be6

yond typical daily tasks, port chaplains find themselves in intense situations: responding to a death at sea, maintaining financial support for a tight budget, and addressing seafarers’ personal or family needs, for example. The inability to solve problems for seafarers within the narrow windows of time before their ships sail adds to the stress. In addition, continuity of care remains difficult as the next port may be in another country with no chaplain to follow-up or partner with. The task can feel massive, and it may feel like there is no one to turn to.

Challenges to finding care Where can this unique brand of spiritual servants turn when they discover that there is no longer within themselves enough to meet the personal needs of those who dock at their port? Electronic communication is available, but at times not enough. Chaplains need trusted people who understand their experiences, comrades among the ranks who can connect and care. Reverend Baker, who before his board presidency was also a Christian Reformed minister, summarizes the challenges of leadership: “The more a person is in leadership, the greater the risks that come with disclosure. Strong character involves seeking help when needed, yet to confide in a superior may be viewed as weakness, or a board member may interpret a chaplain’s challenges as inadequacy. These cautions prohibit care for the caregiver and exacerbate the sense of isolation.” Chaplaincy itself is a strange experience. Chaplains can get so wrapped up in the challenges or crises at hand that their self-care and personal needs move to a back burner, leaving them too crippled to give the very care they want to provide. Retired chaplain Tim Huppert notes this was true when he accepted his first call to Port Manatee, Fla. to develop Anchor House: “My family was young when I began at Port Manatee. I was busy with development of a mission and managing outreach to seafarers at the same time. I spent way too much time at the port, because the need was great.   “It is easy to justify these commitments because the seafarer’s need is right in front of you. The overpowering need of others was always gnawing at me. Since the need was obvious, I avoided the nudges to be home more. It almost forced me to an early retire-

ment from a ministry I cared deeply about. I had to step away and re-evaluate.”

The need for care Reverend Vandercook’s ports of New Orleans and South Louisiana jointly see 27,000 seafarers annually. “Chaplaincy, in addition to tending to personal life and health issues, is a very overwhelming task,” said Vandercook. “Right now, I know chaplains who are hurting. In my life, my family faced challenges that I could not talk to others about. Personal crisis affects your ability to do ministry.” It is one thing to tell someone what they need to do to remain well. It is another for them to implement the practice when the tasks waiting in an office or on the deck of a ship seem overwhelming. Some chaplains and caregivers find guilt in respite and difficulty in understanding that rest is an action word. The Navigators discipleship tool, Tyranny of the Urgent, challenges readers to examine how they prioritize the use of time in Christian service. To turn the lights off and go home for a time may be the best thing we can do for those we serve. Caregivers in leadership positions confide that they need a close friend, a trusted leader, a person with whom they can talk out loud. They need to vent or grieve. Associations that hold regular conferences like the North American Maritime Ministry Association, Apostleship of the Sea, Port Ministries International, Apostleship of the Sea-USA, and the Mission to Seafarers have intentionally become places where vulnerability is safe.  Conferences offered by these groups are crucial for chaplains. Seafarers’ welfare workers benefit from the updates and information on best practices there, but, just as importantly, they find camaraderie, fellowship, support and prayer. Still, there is more to be done. Vandercook believes that if we are not caring for ourselves, isolation and loneliness will increase. Chaplains who cannot develop a personal safety net have become as needy as those they serve, and in so doing deprived seafarers of the care they wanted to give them. “The greatest thing we need is a chaplain to chaplains. The people in NAMMA were there for me when I struggled. We need to do more of that,” said Vandercook. “Life is hard. But we are not alone.”


Responding with compassion to those in need An interview with Archbishop Fred Hiltz on why we serve seafarers


During the most recent Missions to Seafarers Canada regional meeting in Thunder Bay, Jason Zuidema of The MARE Report had a chance to sit down with The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and liaison bishop for Mission to Seafarers Canada Region, to ask about the importance of seafarers’ ministry and its connection to the church. Thank you to Archbishop Hiltz for his encouragement and availability to support seafarers’ ministry in Canada. How did you get involved with the Mission to Seafarers? I have had the privilege for the last six years to be the acting liaison bishop with the Mission to Seafarers. That brings me into an immediate relationship, a pastoral relationship, with all of the chaplains across Canada: in the Ports of Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Sarnia, Toronto, Hamilton, Oshawa, Saint John, and Halifax. I have always had an interest in the Mission to Seafarers. I remember as a child being taken to the Mission to Seafarers in Halifax, and I have always been drawn to it, having grown up in Nova Scotia. I am also drawn to the sea, so I have a great affection and admiration for the Missions to Seafarers and the amazing care that they provide for seafarers all around the world.

What is the mission of the Mission to Seafarers? I think in the very first instance it’s to show the love of God to these people who transport the majority of the world’s goods. Few of us really get that almost everything that we purchase is shipped from some part of the world and how dependent that makes us on seafarers.  Seafarers are for the most part invisible, so for me the Mission to Seafarers is about an amazing respect for their labors, their courage, and their commitment to making a living in such a way. They are so far from home for so many months at a time. The Mission just simply exists to care for them and their well-being on board and on shore. For me it’s always been a way of saying thank you for who you are.  It’s a way of honoring the work that they do and providing the best kind of warmth and welcome we can for them when they do get a chance to get off the vessel. Now, in a time when turnarounds of ships in port are shorter and shorter, getting off the ship can be very challenging. But there again, the onboard visits that chaplains make are even more critical in those moments. I’m also aware that living conditions onboard some vessels are not good – some ship owners and shipping lines have wonderful vessels that are in good shape, safe, and clean, but we also know that there are others which are kind of like rusty buckets. For the poor seafarers that are on these ships, they are like prisons, and so we have a role in all of that to speak up for seafarers’ right to work in safe conditions.

marvelous expression of the Gospel. From an Anglican perspective, we say that we will respond with compassion to those in need, that we will stand by those whose rights are threatened or violated, and that we will intervene with them. We do that in the name of Christ, and in the name of his gospel of love and mercy and justice for all people. So that for my mind is why the Church is involved in service to seafarers. Otherwise it’s a lovely social service. But we do it because we believe Christ has called us to it. And, of course, we have the profoundly beautiful images from the Gospel itself of Jesus’ own closeness to the sea: fear upon the waters, breakfast by the sea, calling the apostles to be fishers of people. It is actually in the DNA of the Gospel and the life of the Church itself.

In ministry we often want to act first and listen second.  Why is listening often so hard, yet integral to the Mission to Seafarers? We need to learn to listen. I think we need to learn to listen to seafarers’ stories. We need to listen to their pain. We need to listen to the hardships that they experience from time to time. We need to listen to their loneliness. We need to listen to their desire to connect with their families and their yearnings for good and safe working conditions. Listening is not just with the ears, but with the heart. It also needs to be listening between the words: trying to hear the great need that’s being shared, the great pain, or the great hope and trying to hear those things in the midst of the conversation. We need to listen in such a way that, if there is a need that needs to be addressed, a great pain that needs to be worked through, or a great hope that they’re really clinging to, we can help them.

What’s the message that you would tell to encourage staff and volunteers in missions across Canada?

Why is it important for the Church to have a relationship with the Mission to Seafarers?

You are performing a wonderful ministry. It is a ministry that is often unknown, but very important. It’s the Gospel in action – reaching out and caring for people in this incredibly amazing way, offering people a warm welcome, listening to their stories, encouraging them on their way, assuring them that in another port there is another Mission to Seafarers station where they will also receive love and care and attention.

I think the Church’s engagement in the Mission to Seafarers, caring for seafarers around the world, and advocating for their rights is a

Thank you. 9



he men and women who live and work at sea are often away from their families and friends for many months, working long hours at demanding jobs and calling at foreign countries for only short periods of time. A rare port visit offers an important opportunity for a seafarer to rest and recuperate, communicate with his or her family in private, see a doctor or dentist, go ashore to the shops or visit the local seafarers’ centre. Port Welfare Committees bring the maritime community together in support of seafarers’ welfare in ports. They play a valuable role in supporting seafarers and making available the facilities and services that seafarers need during their brief stay. The International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) program aims to


encourage and support the establishment of welfare boards worldwide in accordance with MLC, 2006.   The IPWP program is an International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) project that is managed by the MNWB and is funded by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Seafarers UK and TK Foundation. The MNWB was chosen by ISWAN to manage this program as they have a wealth of knowledge and experience in both operating and setting up welfare boards. As the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board for the United Kingdom, the MNWB is proud of its highly developed Port Welfare Committee structure, which includes 15

Panoramic view of the Durban container terminal

committees in the UK and one in Gibraltar. Since the pilot project began in 2015 the IPWP team have helped to establish 28 welfare boards and committees in 17 countries around the world. The latest port to inaugurate a PWC is Durban, the busiest port in South Africa and one of the largest ports on the African continent. Built around a large natural harbour, the port has 57 berths around 21 kilometers of waterfront. The city is built around the harbour and the central business district is close to the berths. The port handles a huge variety of ships, including roro, bulk (primarily sugar), and containers and can also deal with repair and bunkering. Traffic on the roads around the port is challenging at times, with journeys needed not only to visit ships, but also to transport seafarers to the town, the seafarers’ centre or immigration clearance to leave the port. Seafarers and fishers visiting the Port of Durban are currently cared for by the ecumenical Durban Seafarers Mission, which has a building open to seafarers every day, together with the Apostleship of the Sea, Biblia, Christian Seaman’s Organization, German Seamen’s Mission, Sailors' Society and Mission to Seafarers. The centre is on beautiful grounds next to the harbour, and it has great facilities including a new bar and free WiFi. Transport is provided for seafarers. The newly-formed Durban Port Welfare Committee seeks to supplement and build on the excellent service already provided in the port by the voluntary organizations and will establish a forum where the work of all maritime organizations with a vested interest in seafarers’ welfare can be coordinated. The PWC will bring together key representatives from the port, maritime community, local and provincial government and non-profit organizations to support and improve seafarers’ welfare facilities

and services. “Although we already have much work being done for the welfare of seafarers in the port of Durban, this initiative offers us a unique opportunity to formalise relationships and to establish a collaborative platform to better serve the needs of the 60,000 or so seafarers who visit our port each year” said Mr Peter Cottrell, Chair of the Durban Seafarers Mission. Peter was an early leader in the IPWP. Following planning meetings with a small group representing different areas of the maritime community and city, IPWP provided input in the form of materials and advice, and the PWC was formally launched at a high-profile event on Wednesday May 29, 2019. This included a presentation from the IPWP and an address by Captain Dennis Mqadi, Transnet Executive Manager for Safety Health Environment and Regulatory Oversight, who spoke of the importance of this initiative and pledged the commitment of Transnet National Ports Authority to the care of the many seafarers visiting the Port of Durban. Durban’s deputy mayor, Councillor Fawzia Peer, affirmed in a keynote address the importance of caring for the welfare of seafarers, saying that “as a caring city, eThekwini (Durban area) recognises the important mission of the newly-formed Welfare Committee and gives the committee its full backing.” She shared her vision for the regeneration of the inner city, which she said would result in a safer and conducive environment for seafarers when they visit. Members of the local community, including church leaders and key players in local and provincial government, pledged to support improving services for seafarers in Durban. At the launch event, the IPWP Project Manager and MNWB Deputy Chief Executive Sharon Coveney formally inaugurated the PWC and said “We are delighted that Durban, as a major Southern 11

Hemisphere port, has participated in this program. A content, fit and healthy seafarer is a safer and more productive seafarer.” An award was presented to the Port of Durban for its support of seafarer’s welfare. Special awards were presented to Thulani Dlamini, Acting Provincial Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union and to the Durban Port Chaplains for their outstanding support to seafarers facing hardship. Reverend Moses Muli, Port Chaplain of the Port of Mombasa, came to Durban to talk about his experiences of setting up a PWC six months ago. He expressed the benefits of the PWC as providing shared responsibility for the care of seafarers: “The teamwork is a huge plus. Any time I encounter a challenge, I have people to share with, and a problem shared is half solved. The PWC gives me an opportunity to help people understand our work of caring for seafarers and why it is important. Some of these people are from organizations which are quite distant from port operations and seafarers, but nevertheless take decisions which can have an impact on them.” Aside from the inauguration of the Durban PWC, the event also included an IPWP Ambassadors Training Course with representatives from ports across South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania, who were keen to establish welfare committees within their own regions. A new IPWP training course is under development for people who are interested in either establishing or joining a welfare committee. The online course will include six short videos which explore the mechanisms and benefits of PWCs. One of these films is called ‘In praise of PWCs’ and contains interviews with several members of the Southampton PWC in the UK. The shipowners’ representative pointed out that the PWC “is very important for the seafarers, as being a forum where people can share ideas and…improve services for seafarers in their port.” The representative of port management said: “If you can all gather together under one roof, you can thrash out loads of problems.” One of the maritime funding charity’s representatives sits on the Southampton PWC and pointed out that doing so meant “we have learned a lot, particularly about such issues as modern slavery.” Another member said of the PWC: “It’s seeing the bigger picture about seafarers’ welfare. It’s not all about centres, it’s about ship visits, and it’s about what the port does to facilitate seafarers’ welfare. It’s a lot bigger than the charities.” One of the port chaplains interviewed said of the PWC: “The biggest (benefit) for me is the networking that we have. We have so many issues that are very practical ones, and to be able to speak with confidence to somebody, and for them to recognise who you are and what you are doing, those relationships are invaluable.” Peter Tomlin, MNWB Chief Executive and IPWP Director, has overseen the project from its pilot phase in 2015. “The ILO Maritime Labor Convention has endorsed the role of welfare boards and committees as an essential part of the effective delivery of welfare in a port. Our funders have agreed this provides a golden opportunity for helping seafarers. For welfare agencies the PWC is a gift – it provides support and cover for port chaplains, welfare workers and volunteers in the work they need to do. Through the PWC they have access to the highest levels of port operational management, and the knowledge this brings of their work and that of agents, shipping companies, port authorities and the city government. Time and again we have seen the benefit of this. No port should be without one.” For further information about the International Port Welfare Partnership Program (IPWP) visit www.portwelfare.org; read more about the Durban Seafarers Mission at www. durbanseafarermission.org.za 12





1. The keynote speaker with Peter, Sharon and a member of the Port Welfare Committee 2. Five out of six mission regional coordinators 3. Durban port chaplains 4. The first meeting of the Port Welfare Committee 5. Seafarers enjoying the braai (BBQ) at the Durban seafarers centre



Top: Rev. David Reid (Seamen's Church Institute Philadelphia and South Jersey), lower left: Rev. Tom Rhoades (Seamen's Church Institute of New York), lower right: Rev. Sandford Sears (Seafarers' House, Ft. Lauderdale) PHOTOS: Seamen's Church Institute NY & NJ, Seamen's Church Institute Philadelphia and South Jersey, NAMMA


F I N D fulfillment Chaplaincy Chaplainc I N in




ransitions can be a navigational challenge. But these newly-established chaplains have found fulfillment in their new roles. We’ve interviewed three professionals who shifted from their previous positions to the world of serving seafarers, who discuss how they became chaplains to a collection of transient people on the water. Contrary to the repetitive contact characteristic of pastoring a church on land, serving seafarers involves a mobile population with limited time for addressing personal concerns and spiritual needs. The trio reflects on the similarities and differences. Rev. Tom Rhoades, former Senior Pastor of a Methodist congregation in rural Arkansas, balanced preaching and most of the ministerial tasks a rural congregation requires. After nearly ten years of organizing, attending meetings and pulpit time, he took a leave of absence.

“I didn’t have much enthusiasm left for ministry,” said Rhoades. Unclear about continuing as a pastor, Rhoades began to explore other employment options. His search led him to Memphis, Tennessee, where he began to look into the river industry. He was hired with the American Commercial Barge Lines as a deck hand for seven years, which led to a positon as a cook on the M/V Cooperative Spirit while in dry dock at Paducah, Kentucky. During that period, a hard-hat wearing Episcopal chaplain, Kempton Baldridge, was visiting the boats along the river where Rhoades worked and kept his past profession to himself. A relationship developed with the chaplain. Rhoades let his guard down and the pair soon learned they had much in common regarding pastoral care. The chaplain challenged Rhoades to explore the use of his God-given pastoral gifts. In 2014, Rhoades began a process that led him to explore what God may have in store for him. One day, Baldridge challenged Rhoades to consider chaplaincy on the water. He connected Rhoades to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, a denomination open to bi-vocational clergy, which welcomed Rhoades as he continued to navigate toward his new ministry as a part-time chaplain. Rhoades sensed a revival of his need to connect with those he served. Sometimes higher education and ordination can “separate you out and you can lose touch with people,” acknowledges Rhoades. “Being a pastor can isolate you from everyday people.” 16

“This chaplaincy keeps me connected to the pain and suffering of people [who lack a religious network] because they work a rotational shift of 28 days,” said Rhoades. Ultimately, he joined the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey where a vacant position on the Lower Mississippi River, Gulf and Houston ship channel was available. Ministry looks different on the river. You may find a person with needs at the top of a gangway or in the mess room. The work is less calculated but just as critical as that on land. Rhoades found similarities with his previous pastoral duties. The people have the same basic needs, but they are met in different ways. The reputation of brown water mariners, those who work on the rivers, is different from a community church. There is a sense of gratitude here.” Rhoades likens his chaplaincy to an itinerant worker who meets the needs of those he comes in contact with because he is going to the people rather than the people coming to him. “The work of God is more incarnate, establishing common ground with individuals,” said the rookie chaplain. “I am much happier as a river chaplain because it is outward focused. It is easier because people are more interested.” Beyond meeting the needs of the mariners, he also promotes the SCI, among other organizations in the maritime transportation industry. He embraces the holistic work he has been appointed to, visiting towing vessels and tugs. Rhoades believes industrial chaplaincy is a new model of what the church can look like. Through trainings and relationships he broadens the understanding of shoreside people regarding the value of the ministry among river workers. His certification in Critical Incident Stress Management enables him to merge his pastoral care with those he now serves. “I hope the work I do creates a model of building relationships,” said Rhoades. “The people in the maritime industry inspire me. They are resilient. They are caring. They are committed,” he posted on Facebook. If you could experience God’s compassion by listening to a voice, it would be clear when talking with the Reverend Sanford Sears, priest in the Anglican Catholic Church and Port Chaplain at Seafarers’ House in Port Everglades, Florida.

Sears, a retired coast guard active duty and reserve officer, found that maritime careers can partner well with service to seafarers. While in the coast guard he served in public affairs, port security, inspections, and small boat stations evaluating needs onboard the ships. As an inspector, assessing needs and defects on ships was crucial for safety. Although the technical and mechanical aspects are no longer his responsibility, seafarer’s needs are. In his new position as port chaplain, Sears says that the welfare of a crew is linked to the functioning of a vessel. How crew members interrelate is crucial. “Ships used to have social crews who were oriented toward each other,” said Sears. “We are losing that cohesiveness with one another. Ship mates may not be looking out for each other.” Due to social media access, crew members often go to their rooms in isolation, where previously they would interact and be aware if someone was not doing well. WiFi enables crews to interact with family members, see new babies, but also receive sad news more quickly. Many seafarers go to sea to support families and are not free to go home when tragedy strikes. Crews with mixed nationalities of multiple languages and faiths can provide stress, too. The lost comradery is needed for wellbeing. This is why a ship visit matters. “I was looking for new options for ministry,” said Rev. Sears. “The ministry to seafarers is a ready-made church at the doorstep of the ocean. A welcoming congregation for anyone ready to serve.” “I don’t see a difference between my parish and the work in the port,” said Sears. “I do anything I would normally do in my church. On a vessel, I visit the cook first. The cook knows about the inter-relationships. The cook represents everything. He is a nurturing person, like a mother or father,” explains Sears. The complementary work between his parish and his port enhance each other. Holy Guardian Angels Church in Lantana, Florida, like a ship, is a congregation of mixed nationalities able to offer prayers for seafarers and support to the Seafarer’s House. Within his scope of responsibility as port chaplain, he oversees the part-time chaplains, the Apostleship of the Sea outreach, five volunteer chaplains and the ship welfare visitors. His ministries are supported by his university education. He is a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary; Bangor Theological Seminary; the major seminary of Barranquilla, Colombia; and St. Stephen’s House, where he received a Certificate in Orthodox Theology. His education and natural compassion create a pastoral opportunity for land and sea. Whether as a result of pulpit burn-out, former ship experience, or just searching for a place to give back following retirement, port chaplaincy fills a gap society often overlooks. The Reverend David Reid is also familiar with the working seafarer. Initially interested in civil engineering, he left a North London technical college to join the British Merchant Navy in 1968. He served eight years as a senior officer and navigator in the British and Canadian Merchant Navy. Then he decided it was time to make a change. Reid moved on to a variety of business opportunities over 50 years with a strong emphasis in leadership, innovation and growing new enterprises. He held senior management positions as CEO, presi-

dent, and managing director in the U.S. and the United Kingdom in the port industry. Throughout many years of experience as a senior executive, he noticed the work of chaplains and centers that provided care to seafarers. As Reid began thinking about his retirement years, he decided he wanted to take on a fresh challenge - a way to give back. So he began attending seminary part-time to explore options. This led to work as a hospice volunteer and involvement in the Veteran-to-Veteran program. He explored options of chaplaincy among fire fighters and hospitals. “I wanted to push myself a little,” he said. “I found hospice very rewarding.” As part of his consideration he volunteered at the Seamen’s Church Institute, Philadelphia - a natural fit, but completely different from his professional work. “I understand what it means to be a seafarer. It is a world I am comfortable with,” said Reid. He found that a big part of being a seafarer chaplain is listening. “It is completely different. It is a ministry of presence to different faiths and no faiths,” said Reid. Historically, the European community supplied the bulk of seafarers. They were the demographic of that time. Today, we have a much broader population of people and faiths on ships. “As a chaplain, you are not coming as a pastor. You are coming to listen; to be with them. It is a different experience. You are not coming onboard as a salesman or to proselytize,” said Reid. Seafarers must be incredibly adaptable to deal with the management of change in a positive way. According to Reid, seafarers need to exercise transformational leadership. “This is a special connection that enables seafarers to think together and to function in a unified manner, even though on paper they may appear to be very diverse,” said Reid. While working toward his master’s degree online, he began volunteering as a ship visitor with the SCI. He took the opportunity to do his thesis on helping the board restructure their work in a busy port that needed many ship visitors who were committed to longevity. The goal was to develop a team of workers to sustain the work. Reid developed the Active Ship Visitor program, a training the SCI implemented in Philadelphia. Reid believes that centers and chaplains can create an open door for greater partnership with the local churches by creating an awareness of the shipping industry as the invisible industry it is; and by teaching congregations about who the people are that make the industry work, and what seafarers do, and the challenges they face on our behalf. When people learn this, their response to support those who work at sea should be clear. Navigating new challenges is a way of life for those who live and work on rivers and seas, and the same goes for those who serve them. There is always a new person, a new situation, and a new story for those who choose chaplaincy as a way to give back. Author: Susan Huppert is a journalist writing for The MARE Report. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Huppert’s work has been published for over 18 years regionally and nationally. Huppert facilitates women’s writing groups, has received poetry awards and is the author of two children’s books. She and her husband, Tim, have worked intricately with international seafarers for more than 17 years. The couple has five adult children and six grandchildren in the Midwest.


Houston School students were one of the first groups to visit the remodelled Houston Maritime Museum

Growing in service at the

Houston School 2019 I


n the last week of January, chaplains, ship visitors, center administrators, and others involved in maritime ministry from all over the world convened at the Houston International Seafarers’ Center (HISC) to take a NAMMA-led course on serving seafarers. Students of the Houston School this year were given many reasons to thank God: learning more about how to serve seafarers, worship that emphasized the unique spiritual aspects of maritime ministry, friendships made with colleagues from many different


cultures and ministries, and the exceptional hospitality shown by the Houston maritime community. The course was managed by NAMMA for the first time this year as part of a larger professional development program supported by TK Foundation and in partnership with worldwide members in the International Christian Maritime Association. The success of this year’s course is deeply indebted to the HISC, which for many years previous had not only hosted the event but designed and taught the curriculum. “The school started 44 years ago,” says chaplain

and first-time local assistant Tom Edwards. “We were the first ecumenical center in the United States, and we knew that we wanted to share that model. Historically, we have been blessed with many denominationally-supported chaplains and were the largest port ministry in North America. It wasn’t that we thought, ‘we know how to do it better than everyone,’ but we saw that there were a lot of people trying to do this ministry who needed somewhere to get some training.  We knew that we could do it, so we started doing it and have kept doing it.” The week’s events were officially kicked off with a short prayer service in the HISC chapel, which became a daily ritual.  Students read scripture passages especially pertinent to seafarers, took turns praying for maritime workers and different aspects of their lives, and heard short homilies about the work of ministry.  Worship was intentionally ecumenical and welcoming, building up the diversity of the Church present. A capella hymns and prayers from the Taizé community wove the services into a beautiful liturgy.  Many remarked on the full heart and voice of students joining together in worship.

Learning Together Many regions were represented among the students, both from within NAMMA and without. On the North American side, students came from British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, California, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.  From Latin America came students from Panama, Brazil, and Argentina. A few students were from relatively nearby in Texas, while one attendee had travelled from the United Arab Emirates.  There was also a great diversity of denominational affiliations – there were large contingents from the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea

Tom Tellepsen II with Pat Cooney

and the Anglican/Episcopalian Mission to Seafarers, and Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches were also represented. Greater even than the attendees’ ecumenical diversity was the range of experience among the chaplains and students. Every one brought a different perspective on maritime ministry; there were several priests, a captain, a former coast guard officer, a former missionary, a seminarian, a bishop, and people experienced in business, charity, journalism, and politics. Some were board members in their local seafarers’ centers, some were one-person operations, others were experienced chaplains, and still others were just starting to work in maritime ministries. This wealth of expertise developed richly in group conversations.  In a discussion of difficult pastoral situations, for example, the case of a stowaway’s accidental death aboard a ship was brought up.  In addition to feeling for the bereaved and the crew, many of the students worried about the young captain and whether he would have been fired for such an unfortunate circumstance he could not have foreseen.  The captain among the students was able to reassure them that things would have likely turned out alright for him. On several occasions, a business perspective helped students consider how they could best implement the lessons they were learning practically, and experienced clergy gave invaluable advice.  Less experienced students enjoyed the opportunity to learn from their colleagues, but also contributed as sources of inspiration and reminders of the challenges that face ministries and chaplains as they begin their work. The course this year was especially honoured to be the site of the first regional meeting of the Anglican Mission to Seafarers in Latin America.  “It has been wonderful for all our chaplains to finally meet each other,” said Fr. Ian Hutchinson Cervantes, the regional director. “Although we have had a presence in Latin America for well over a century, the various chaplaincies have never had a direct relationship between each other.  In the past, each mission’s relationship has been directly with London. It now makes more sense for missions in Latin America to be in relationship, support each other, and pray for one another, particularly as all of our chaplains are Latin Americans themselves.” As many of the Latin American missions are quite new, Fr. Ian found it fitting to organize the regional meeting to coincide with a

Students were welcomed to lunch at the Norwegian Seamen's Church

chaplaincy training. “Learning history has been invaluable for locating the Mission to Seafarers’ own story and finding a sense of our region’s unique identity. But I am also hoping for cross-pollination here.  I would like to think that the North American students are being challenged by facing a reality that is not North American. I suspect that this will help them to think and grow, and enrich their interaction with other cultures in ports.”

Equipment for Ministry Course curriculum covered all of the major issues involved in ship visiting and running seafarers’ centers. Although classes were held over a week in Houston, students came into the classroom having already learned new things about ministry to seafarers through NAMMA’s online learning materials over the previous month.  For the students’ first unit, they took the ship welfare visitor course to learn the basics of navigating ports, entering ships, and having valuable conversations with seafarers. In the following weeks, they got to know Jason over the internet through weekly video presentations on sea blindness, the shipping industry, and the preparation that makes ministries successful.  Students also got to learn a bit from each other from answers to content questions posed online.

Speakers at HISC 50th Anniversary Celebration


Chaplain Tom Edwards was local coordinator for the Houston School

During the week in Houston, students were treated to many engaging and informative guest speakers. Many of the speakers were pastoral experts and veterans of maritime ministry, and students learned from them how to turn difficult ministry situations into growth opportunities, how to minister to seafarers over long distances, how to listen actively, and how best to run a ministry organizationally.  Some other lessons were featured by experts in pertinent fields outside

Ken Hawkins taught students about story telling


maritime ministry, including coast guard experts on smuggling, an excursion to the Seafarers’ International Union Hall to visit with SIU Gulf Coast Vice President Dean Corgey and ITF inspector Shwe Tun Aung, and a workshop on the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 from Douglas Stevenson of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights. Class time was dynamic, enlivened by role-playing chaplaincy situations, competition between small groups on questions of law, and not infrequent banter about rival sports teams. The online component of the course made for a good background resource for ship visitors, as  April, a seminarian and HISC intern, noted. “Learning about the different ships, flags, and other sides of the shipping industry was very valuable in solidifying my understanding.  The necessity of preparation before ship visits was another important lesson.  As ministry leaders our attention is really on the spiritual side and being there for the seafarers, but there is a lot of preparation that goes into that.  One of my biggest fears getting on a ship is having a conversa-

tion with someone without knowing some important background information about that ship. What if I say something that is offensive? The lesson on preparation taught me how to address that worry.” April also noted the value of the in-class lessons and the excursions to key institutions in Houston’s port community.  The online and in-person lessons balanced and enhanced each other. “In class we learned about the different laws and regulations, whose jurisdiction we are under and why.  That way I know, if there is a problem, whom to call first.”

A happy group visited Texas Port Ministries in Port Freeport

The class on maritime labor law and the excursion to the Seafarers’ International Union Hall were particularly relevant to April because a local ITF inspector had recently helped her secure pay for an unpaid crew. She enjoyed the opportunity to meet the people who had helped her help seafarers in person. “It is really important to know whom to contact, where they are, and how to create these relationships. Our ministry is for community, and we need to be a community working in partnership with one another.  There is no such thing as individual ministry. Serving seafarers in my way means me serving them with the support of all these different organizations.”

“The industry and the port have always been very supportive of the school,” said Tom Edwards. ”Because Houston is one of the largest ports in America by tonnage, I cannot think of a place with more resources to put a school on and make expertise available to students.”

A Warm Houston Welcome The students were very warmly welcomed and well-taken care of by the HISC, local churches, and other port institutions. Transportation and meals were provided by the HISC’s chaplains. Faith Presbyterian, Memorial Drive Presbyterian, the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Mercy Ships, and St Alphonsus Church took turns providing hearty lunches, including delicious world fare and enormous pizzas.  The recently relocated Houston Maritime Museum also opened on a Monday specifically to give the chaplaincy students tours, and the course ended with a ride on the tour boat Sam Houston. One of the most special gestures was the HISC inviting the students to its 50th-anniversary party on January 31, where they got to enjoy cake, learn the history of the center, and meet many of the people involved in it.

Texas Port Ministries, Port Freeport


MLC 2006



The International Labor Organization (ILO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, and with good reason. Like a storm-tossed ship, it has weathered many internal and external adversities, some so great that its continued existence seemed in danger, but it has nonetheless survived. For those of us working in seafarers’ welfare, it is also worth reflecting on the ILO’s work for seafarers – to thank our colleagues in labor for all they have done, but also to think with them about what more there is to be done. One of these feats most worthy of celebration and reflection is the Maritime Labor Convention, (MLC), 2006.


A historic achievement First, the MLC deserves celebrating for the sheer amount of work and perseverance it represents. It took 6 years from the first negotiation meeting to its adoption, another 6 years to meet the entry into force requirements, and yet another year before it became fully effective. 13 years is a long time to keep fanning a flame, and much of the project’s endurance is attributable to the ILO’s determination to see this “super convention” come into effect. Furthermore, at the same time as the ILO was developing the MLC, it campaigned intensively to build awareness and capacity, undoubtedly encouraging more countries to ratify as a result. The MLC is also remarkable for its universality. While there had been previous ILO maritime conventions, they were woefully under-ratified and, as the shipping industry itself admitted, not fully applied. Labor standards were plunging and maritime casualties remained high. As such, the ILO and its industry partners got together to consolidate these conventions into a “onestop-shop” set of standards to address poor employment and working conditions for seafarers. In analysing all the meeting reports, relevant submissions, and related documents, the magnitude of the task was laid bare. As others have noted, negotiating the MLC to adoption was a monumental task and should count as one of the ILO’s great successes.

Benefits for seafarers – food, living standards The MLC simply coming into effect is not the final determination of its success, however. The real tests of the MLC’s success must be based on those things it was meant to bring about: improved employment and working conditions for seafarers and fair competition among shipowners. While it is uncertain as to how much fair competition among shipowners has been achieved (that study has yet to be done), there is some indication that the MLC has contributed to improving some aspects of seafarers’ welfare.

In a recent study examining the MLC standards for safety representation on ships, some seafarers reported that they welcomed the MLC and could point to specific areas where they thought it had improved their working conditions. The MLC’s effects were particularly appreciated with respect to catering and welfare provisions. For example, some seafarers reported that prior to the MLC, less attention was paid to the quality and cultural appropriateness of their meals. In one instance a seafarer reported he and his crew had to buy their own water and food. Another reported that prior to the MLC he could not complain about the quality of the meals, but subsequently, he could go and lodge a complaint and the ships’ cook would have to provide an appropriate meal. While others were less certain, they did think the MLC partially responsible for improvements they had noticed in catering and other welfare provisions like entertainment and gym facilities.

Areas for work – misapplication, misunderstanding Seafarers also reported more attention to work/rest hours, but again were uncertain as to how much could be credited to the MLC. Fatigue has been a longstanding concern in the industry and is regulated by instruments other than the MLC. The MLC provisions have undoubtedly added another layer, though, and perhaps this is the result that the seafarers were experiencing. However, work/rest hours is a contentious issue and not all seafarers are happy with recent developments. One captain lamented on twitter that the MLC simply served to remove overtime pay. This kind of problem is very concerning and needs further investigation – if seafarers are being forced to log excess working hours as rest simply to comply with the MLC on paper, then the MLC is doing them harm rather than good. While there is no silver bullet for poor employment and working conditions at sea, one should expect the shipping industry to uphold the standards on which it has decided. They would appear to have done so, at least in

some respects, as the concentrated inspection campaign by the Paris MOU in 2016 made the general conclusion that there was proper implementation and compliance with the MLC for the ships inspected. However, commercial pressures remain which the MLC and indeed the industry have not begun to seriously address. An important aspect of maintaining the MLC minimum standards is empowering seafarers to exercise the rights the MLC has secured for them. There seems no shortage of information online in this regard, but still some seafarers in the study had minimal knowledge of the MLC. One seafarer lamented that the MLC is “just added paperwork”. According to this seafarer, everything was too much, too many “MLC, ISM, ISPS, STCW,…” etc. He and others said they did not know much about the MLC because it was not a part of their daily lives. Another lamented the drive in risk assessment and the burden to find something safety-related to report. In both these cases and others, I suspect a confusion between the MLC requirements and all the other technical requirements for safety onboard. The study found that seafarers tended to not understand the difference between the MLC and technical standards for ship safety and pollution prevention, even though the MLC differs from these specifically in being meant to protect them. These findings are cause for concern. Even with educational material online and hard copies sent to ships, seafarers’ education and training about the MLC still need to be improved. Education is an ongoing process and the nature of work onboard may not allow seafarers enough time to access these resources. Other means might be necessary to ensure seafarers know their rights. Safety representatives may be part of the solution, although they have not so far been implemented as envisaged in the MLC and its guidelines. Whatever the eventual solution, it is clear that much work remains for unions and seafarers’ welfare workers – in order for seafarers to fully benefit from the MLC, they need to know it not as another burdensome instrument, but as a powerful tool for protecting their labor rights.


Frontship Turning Basin, Buffalo River, Houston University Houston Digital Library

THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS FOR SEAFARERS' WELLBEING Presentation of Jason Zuidema at the ISWAN Seminar in Helsinki, Finland, November 23, 2018. In early 1963, former seafarer and businessman Albert Liedts told members of the Houston Propeller Club that the Port of Houston was seen by seafarers as “the worst port in the world.” He had been a seafarer since age 16, and later a chief officer, so he knew what the seaman’s life was like and how difficult it could be.  After immigrating to America from Belgium in 1949, he settled in Houston and was now witnessing rapid growth in the port, having established his own port transport business in 1958.  He believed that Houston was a great port but lamented the absence of a seafarers’ center like he had seen elsewhere to care for the personal needs of seafarers, a safe place to go when not aboard. He tried to do his part: at Christmas time for a number of years, he and others would take cases of beer and magazines to the ships.  He also gathered together a group of other like-minded businessmen around him to kickstart a project, but it was too much work for a group that already had too much on the go; the project for a new seafarers’ center stalled. The port was on Houston’s East End, viewed as a rough and 24

undesirable place to live by wealthier Houstonians. In fact, it was because of the poverty of the area that various individuals from local churches started to work together to address the basic needs of the marginalized in the community. The Rev. Taft Lyon, a Presbyterian; the Rev. Sam Duree, a Methodist; and Fr. Rivers Patout, a Catholic, all had a passion for social service through the churches they served. They formally organized in 1967 by creating a multi-denominational group – a partnership not common in those days – to build social service programs.  The group was called T.E.E.M (The East End Ministry) and worked ecumenically to run camps, sewing classes, clothing closets, and other programs for those in need. After starting T.E.E.M., Lyon, Duree, and Patout all began to realize that there were ships docked along the Houston ship channel and that seamen from all over the world worked on those ships.  Of them only Lyon, a former seaman, knew how big a challenge this presented. His interest in seafarers grew over time, but slowly, as he knew it would be a major undertaking to start a formal ministry with church power alone. It was only after five years of ministry in the city of Houston and a chance personal connection with a Dutch seaman visiting the port that Lyon’s attention was refocused on seafarers’ needs.  He helped lead an amazing coalition of Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists and Methodists to form a seafarers’ ministry

committee that was willing to provide the people-power that the business community and Liedts lacked. With the business community finding land and critical funding for a building and the church communities willing to donate time and organized ship visiting, the project finally took off. A temporary location was opened almost immediately, and a permanent, state-of-the-art seafarers’ center was opened in January 1973.

The problem with partnerships This story from Houston exemplifies a problem faced by so many in seafarers’ welfare: if one tries to do this work alone, the tendency will be to fail. In the 1960s in Houston, neither the business community nor the individual church communities were up to the task alone. Individuals were doing small acts of kindness, but none could really support the major task of taking care of port-based seafarers’ welfare. This same problem is played out in hundreds of ports around the world.  Organizations in some ports have overcome the problem, but many other ports remain underserved.  The results are painfully clear – where industry, government, seamen’s services, unions, and voluntary associations aren’t rowing in the same direction, the results are less effective or nonexistent, and seafarers need to fend for themselves for shore leave. But solutions are not as easy as mentioning partnerships.  Partnerships are tough. They often mean compromise and thinking in very different ways. No doubt, there are lots of cases of individuals and groups simply not wanting or having the time to work together.  It takes energy to get to know each other and put together a project. Yet, it is a question of geography, politics, and history.  The challenge in many places is not that we do not want to work together, it is that there are significant barriers to our organizations working together.  We might have overlapping visions and many points of mission in common, but these trivial-seeming barriers remain legally or practically insurmountable. This is especially the case with funding structures.  Voluntary organizations receive funding from national or local government agencies, foundations, or partner groups, and that funding must be used for specific projects and in specific ways.  Obviously, as the saying goes, “no money, no mission.” This money is the source of our health, but also the reason that we cannot always form the kinds of partnerships that we wish.  We might dream of new partnerships with other organizations, but due to the realities of where our funding comes from, it might prove very difficult.  For example, a certain foundation might have lots of money and a willingness to give, but if their principles dictate that they can only give to organizations in one country or one port or a certain type of organization, it creates an immediate challenge. If our main funding comes from our national government or from a foundation with strict limitations on how money can be used, thinking of new partnerships will seem impossible. Is the value of partnerships really worth the cost of trying to figure out how to make things work?

the organizations that I work for, NAMMA and ICMA, are not one thing, but a visible representation of partnerships.  In 1932 for NAMMA and 1969 for ICMA, various groups decided to make a durable partnership to leverage their collective voice for the benefit of seafarers. But it is not just on the macro level.  Like in Houston, most seafarers’ centers are not one thing, but actually a continuing partnership.  If you look more closely at local groups around the world, they are actually complex, sometimes fragile, networks of people and organizations trying to work together in common cause. Partnerships for seafarers’ welfare exist in so many different forms.  Some share all the burdens of management and finances while others are voluntary in nature.  The need before us today is to continue to be creative in our partnerships.  We are friends here today, but should we scratch the surface we might see many walls that keep us apart. We might not want them, but they exist.  Some of those points of separation are probably insurmountable – limitations in our founding documents, for example, or restrictions on our funds that make working together impossible.  However, there are lots of walls that have been erected only by our lack of imagination. In Houston, the key value was that each group could do for the other what they could not do alone.  That is the case in this room as well.  Many of us have resources that we alone cannot use properly.  Perhaps there are projects waiting to be completed only if we worked together. So, I ask today: turn to those sitting beside you and learn about their plans and programs.  Perhaps you are the answer someone has been looking for. The benefit is not only for you or me, but for the seafarers that we serve.

The value of partnerships But partnerships – especially ones that at first view are not supposed to be possible – are the unsung hero in the history of seafarers’ welfare. Very little durable work has occurred in the voluntary sector without significant, and sometimes unexpected, partnerships.  Industry and labor associations help focus the power of many different companies or unions.  The same is true in the voluntary sector.  A number of associations and organizations are here present.  In many ways 25

New Chaplaincy Learning Best Practice to Develop Relationships

PHOTO: Seamen's Church Institute NY & NJ



n 2017, NAMMA partnered with Professor Wendy Cadge, a sociologist at Brandeis University, to conduct a research project on the relationships between port chaplains and land-based congregations. The project asked what those relationships


looked like and how they might be strengthened; an academic article on the history of port chaplaincy was published during the project, and another on these relationships is now under review. The project also produced a helpful video that port chaplains can use to explain their work and illustrate powerfully how important is the work of

seafarers’ welfare. While the project began under academic auspices, it pointed to larger questions of what it means to be a chaplain today and how chaplains can be most responsive to the real needs of those they serve, regardless of one’s own religious or spiritual tradition. It is well-known, for instance, that in the United

States rates of formal affiliation with religious institutions is on the decline; in one sense, this is beside the point for maritime ministry, as seafarers could be said to all belong to the same “congregation” served by port chaplains around the world on a daily basis. If we consider what most port chaplains spend the majority of their time doing it becomes clear that these are among the most innovative of those whose lives are dedicated to serving others. To outsiders, WiFi hotspots and trips to Wal-Mart may not look like chaplaincy, but listening to the conversations that unfold as the van bumps down the road so seafarers can stock up and shop would prove otherwise. Port chaplains know that addressing the mundane is ministry. This is how “presence” is lived out in maritime ministry. This awareness of innovative ministry allowed NAMMA to contribute to a new organization in more ways than one. Michael Skaggs, former NAMMA Director of Programs, partnered with Professor Cadge and Trace Haythorn of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education to launch the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab last fall. The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab is a think tank based at Brandeis University that brings together working chaplains, chaplaincy educators, and chaplaincy researchers to better understand what quality spiritual care looks like in light of today’s religious demographics. The Lab offers webinars, distributes a monthly newsletter, and serves as an online hub for innovative projects around the world. In fact, Rev. Stephen Cushing, NAMMA board member and Executive Director of the New England Seafarers’ Mission, was the guest of one of the earliest CIL webinars. The Lab has been an incredible success from its launch. Cadge and Skaggs published a white paper on the state of spiritual care in the United States today, laying out a vision for what responsive chaplaincy might look like in the next generation. They also chair a new program unit in the American Academy of Religion - a process notoriously difficult to complete for those proposing new areas of study. Among the work highlighted and fostered by the Lab are projects on spiritual care for those with dementia; “spiritual generalist” training that members of the interdisciplinary medical team can complete to better assess patients’ needs in healthcare settings; mapping change in religious communities and the usage of Boston’s “hidden sacred spaces”; neighborhood chaplaincy focused on street-level communities and individuals; and a comprehensive study of theological education and chaplaincy training today in order to refine these processes for future success. If a project advances chaplaincy in such a way as to better serve those in need - especially those often overlooked or underserved - the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab is working to help. Seafarers are a striking example of what it can mean to provide spiritual care to those missed by more traditional models of ministry. Even while churches are working hard to reach those who may not feel themselves well-served by religious institutions, most of these models rely on the congregation or some other actively-chosen community as the starting point and end goal. Those in maritime ministry know this is impossible with seafarers; so, too, must modern chaplaincy across sectors be attentive to those completely missed by more traditional frameworks. Furthermore, even beyond questions of religious self-identification and affiliation, there are life stages and moments in which individuals have no access to the spiritual or religious leadership they would normally seek. The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab is thus dedicated to fostering responsive spiritual care at an enormous variety of sites, be they seaports, universities

and colleges, hospitals, or even the corporate workplace and airport. These are all places were people find themselves in situations that call for meaningful attention to transcendent matters and existential questions; innovative, modern chaplaincy is a resource particularly well-suited to these types of situations. We already know that port chaplains are doing innovative work in their ministry to seafarers. But what might a new generation of path-blazing chaplaincy look like in maritime ministry? For one, seafarers’ centers could explore the option of becoming CPE sites, which would have the double benefit of enriching chaplains’ educations while drawing port chaplaincy further into the larger community of professional chaplains. The CPE process is an intensive experience in which chaplains learn a great deal not only about those they serve but also about themselves. Those in maritime ministry could also make a concerted effort to get involved in professional organizations and activities geared toward chaplains across sectors; the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab itself would be a great place to start. Most importantly, however, port chaplains can do one of the things they’ve done for ages: ask seafarers what they need and respond accordingly. Working in seafarers’ welfare may be the “ministry of presence” par excellence, with so little time available to serve those in need. Simply being present is radical - and innovative - all on its own. Author bio: Michael Skaggs, PhD is Executive Director of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University. He is a historian of American religion, with particular interest in interfaith dialogue, and has served in innovative theological education programs. His work has appeared in Sociology of Religion, International Journal of Maritime History, U.S. Catholic Historian, Books & Culture, Maritime Executive, and elsewhere.




BOOK REVIEWS Books that help understand seafarers’ welfare and maritime ministry

DAVID HURRELL AND ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. SAVING JACK: THE STORY OF THE SEAMEN’S MISSION OF THE METHODIST CHURCH, THE QUEEN VICTORIA SEAMEN’S REST. LONDON: QVSR, 2018. When considering the mission and vision of contemporary seafarers’ ministry, it is of great use to study its history. A good help to study this history is the new commemorative album Saving Jack by David Hurrell and Alexander Campbell, charting the history of Methodist seafarers’ ministry in London, particularly the history of Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR). This handsome, full-colour volume was put out to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the mission, but also serves as a reminder, a kind of historical roadmap from where we have come in maritime ministry and how we can gather the encouragement necessary to continue to go forward. As Alexander Campbell, QVSR’s current CEO, says in the introduction, “One of Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest’s major challenges is to convince others that there is still a place for it in this modern age.” For this reason, he co-authored this book to show that “QVSR shall remain as a testimony of what 30

can be achieved in the name of Jesus and to set our standards for others to aspire to.” QVSR today is situated steps away from one of the world’s richest centers of business, Canary Wharf in the East End of London. Yet, through most of the 19th and 20th centuries this was the docklands area of London, which like other ‘Sailor Town’ sectors in ports around the world, “was shunned by respectable society and where ‘Jack Tar’, under the cover of anonymity, could seek release for the stresses brought on by abuse and privations at sea.” In the early 19th century, especially in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, charities were set up to work for the spiritual improvement of sailors, notably the Naval & Military Bible Society and the various expressions of the Bethel movement. Out of these came the modern Sailors’ Society, The Mission to Seafarers, and the Seamen’s Christian Friend Society.

In the same context, the still-new community called Methodists also began seafarer ministry. The ministry of QVSR was to serve sailors in need in the growing Port of London. The Port of London grew rapidly throughout the early 19th century. The increasing number of docks and ships required an army of workers and sailors, and was the world in which the QVSR was called to serve: “Cheap, insanitary tenement housing sprang up in the area as the population expanded exponentially. The vast wealth being traded through the port attracted much nefarious activity and this, coupled with hoards of seamen seeking short term accommodation and base entertainment; the endemic poverty amongst the working classes; lack of social infrastructure and poor health and educational facilities, combined for a toxic mix to create the appalling slums and criminal underclass.” Wesleyan mission to seafarers began in 1843 began at St George’s Wesleyan Chapel, Cable Street, Wapping, in the Parish of St George in the East by the London dock. The mission’s calling was to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ among seamen and their families in the vicinity of the Port of London. In the earliest years,

those involved in the mission held ad hoc religious services on board ships or the dockside. After a few years more organization was needed, so a sailors’ chapel was opened in 1849. A key member of the team in the latter 19th century was Thomas Garland, who started working with the mission in 1855 and served more than 40 years by preaching and lecturing. One assistant at the mission was called the ‘Bible woman’, the earliest being Mary Bilson, who made many ship visits distributing literature. Service to sailors was not restricted to religious services or literature distribution. A pressing need among sailors was clean, safe housing – both short and longer term. In 1887 the mission opened its first Seamen’s Rest, which has welcomed many thousands of seafarers over the years. The building would change locations and be remodeled, the modern building having undergone a major upgrade in the second decade of the 21st century. In fact, in the second part of Saving Jack, the current CEO, Alexander Campbell, reflects on the tremendous challenges that QVSR has successfully overcome in the last decades. As the docks closed in the East End of London in the 1960s, with modern ships

coming only to Port Tilbury miles down the Thames, the numbers of seafarers and the need for a seafarers’ hotel was reduced drastically. During the 25-year tenure of the enterprising and flexible Terence Simco, CEO from 1977 to 2003, ways were found to keep the beds full by helping others in the area who were in need. When Campbell came aboard in 2003, the questions of resources and building needed to be addressed directly. And so, with lots of hard work and patience, as well as deeper reflection on the mission and vision of QVSR, the mission now has a fully remodeled building with full capacity and also has expanded its footprint into the management of the seafarers’ center in Port Tilbury. With engaging text by David Hurrell and Alexander Campbell, beautifully printed photos, a full list of employees over the years, and many small biographies and reminiscences, Saving Jack is an enjoyable celebratory album. It is useful to anyone with an interest in British maritime history or the history of the East End of London. More, it can be read with profit by missiologists or maritime ministry historians as the version of one group’s care of seafarers for the last two centuries. However, most importantly, it can be useful for those of other missions in ports around the world who are seeking ideas to rejuvenate their own work or need an encouragement to know that transformation is possible.

how a number of small mistakes and misunderstandings led to ruin. Slade’s story relies in part on interviews of hundreds of individuals involved in the disaster, but especially the voices of the crew themselves on the ship’s data recorder, recovered from the wreckage on the ocean floor. Much of the book is a kind of commentary on what is heard in the El Faro’s data recording, understanding what is said, but also who said it and its implications. Slade deftly weaves information gained from interviews with family and colleagues into the narrative. As the story unfolds, we better understand how out-ofdate weather data, communication gaps, personal challenges, a faulty watertight scuttle that led to loss of ship propulsion, and open lifeboats all contributed to the loss of all hands. The backstories of the captain and officers explained by Slade are revealing: whether or not the personal challenges of each seafarer did in fact contribute to the decision-making processes in the tragedy in the ways Slade suggests, it is illuminating to read about the issues faced by modern American seafarers. No doubt, the backstory that receives the most coverage is the ship itself. The SS El Faro was only weeks away from being replaced on the run to Puerto Rico by a newly-built ship. In the months and years since the tragedy much time has been spent analyzing how such a loss can be avoided in the future.

RACHEL SLADE, INTO THE RAGING SEA: THIRTYTHREE MARINERS, ONE MEGASTORM AND THE SINKING OF EL FARO. ECCO, 2018. On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin brought down the El Faro and its thirty-three crew. Into the Raging Sea by Boston-based journalist Rachel Slade views the tragedy in slow-motion, helping understand

Slade is an excellent writer the book is engaging and very well-written. However, it might

best be read alongside books that have more nuance on the whys and the hows of modern global shipping and the issues surrounding cabotage. Slade finishes the book with these comments: “Corporations may always fight for deregulation (euphemistically known as small government). And taxpayers will always pick up the bill. It’s incredible to think that all the money the government and TOTE ‘saved’ by cutting corners over the years was spent many times over following the accident—first to finance the massive search-and-rescue effort and then to cover the cost of the three VDR recovery missions, which alone totaled more than $3 million. Not to mention the countless hours the US Coast Guard and the NTSB devoted to investigating the sinking. And, most importantly, the deaths of thirty-three men and women-people who were only doing their jobs—and the immeasurable suffering of those who loved them[…] It’s the same twisted math that prevents us from investing in renewable infrastructure while committing billions of tax dollars to subsidize America’s petroleum industry.” This is a highly polemical ending to an otherwise engaging narrative and might distract the reader from the rest of the narrative.

focus on migrants from Africa, Europe, and South and Latin America. In the book’s foreword, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton notes the importance of this series: with an estimated 150 million migrant workers in the world, hearing their voices helps motivate those who wish to extend the hand of solidarity. The photographer, Stefan Lindberg, depicts his subjects with depth and emotion. The text of Lennart Johnson, co-written with Barbro Vivien, helps capture the realities of migrant life in a number of contexts. Johnsson is a veteran reporter who has covered the living conditions of migrant workers in South and Southeast Asia for more than 25 years. The fourteen chapters of the book treat domestic workers, bus drivers, fishers, seafarers among the wide range of migrant workers. Hearing their voices helps to understand their motivation – like the desire to send children to school – and why the global economy continues to need them. It is often said that the low wages of migrant workers allow the western world to keep the cost of consumer goods down. A few chapters in the book focus on seafarers in particular.

STEFAN F. LINDBERG AND LENNART JOHNSSON. DREAMING OF A BETTER LIFE: HUMANS AS COMMODITIES. STOCKHOLM: WALL & VIVIEN, 2017. This book is a collection of stories and photos about the dreams and realities of migrant workers around the world. The book was supported by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and launched at the ITF Congress in Singapore in October 2018. The particular book’s aim is to better understand the stories of migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia. Three subsequent volumes will

Chapter 1, ‘Seafarers Wrapped in Chains’, introduces how Lindberg and Johnsson became acquainted with the dreams and challenges of migrants in general first by contact with seafarers. Seafarers express their dreams in similar words to many migrants: “Our work has led us to many encounters with migrants and 31

BOOK REVIEWS migrant workers over the years, and many of them represent the most humble and robust people there are. Despite living under horrible conditions, they radiate vitality and determination. The most common answer, undoubtedly, to the question, ‘Why did you become a migrant worker?’ would be: ‘I’m dreaming of a better life for my children, and I will never give up my efforts to make that dream come true.’” But this chapter also points out the challenges of seafarers and other migrants: the authors write that “hopefully, the encounters depicted in this book will contribute to the understanding of why people choose to migrate and the hardship that comes with it. Or is it really a choice? Living as free individuals in the free world, with our human, legal and labor rights protected, it’s easy to take those things for granted. Many people in the world are forced into rightlessness, with no possibilities to choose their life as they would want to live it.” (14) A second chapter on seafarers (7) focuses on the challenge of social isolation. The chapter sketches the stories of Filipino seafarers Mario, Ronel, and Roberto to understand what life away from home for months on end really means. They express clearly the challenge of leaving family at the beginning of each contract. Thank you to Lindberg and Johnsson for putting together a book that can help us all hear more clearly the voices of migrant workers around the world. CRAIG MARTIN. SHIPPING CONTAINER. OBJECT LESSONS. NEW YORK: BLOOMSBURY, 2016. This is an engaging little book on the history and importance of the shipping container in modern life. The book is written by Craig Martin, who now serves as senior lecturer in De32

sign Cultures at the University of Edinburg and who grew up close to the container terminals near Tilbury, on the Thames East of London. This book is part of a series called ‘Object Lessons’ that considers the importance of ordinary objects in our daily life. As Martin suggests, though most around us have little direct contact with it, the shipping container is an ubiquitous object. Martin traces the history of the container, the importance of standardization and how the container opened up new possibilities for business; and the unfortunate influence of criminality. The history of containerization usually pegs its beginnings to April 26, 1956, when American businessman Malcolm McLean sailed his converted tanker, the SS Ideal-X, from Port Newark to Houston with a load of 58 containers. Yet Martin points out the important pre-history of the container for decades in the wooden pallet and also that it took years after 1956 before containerization really took off. The handling of freight demanded large numbers of dockworkers, but the wooden pallet used widely already from the 1930s established the principle of unitization “to simplify and regularize the shape of individual items of break-bulk cargo to make them more manageable, and easier to transport.” (21) In many ways, the container was only an extension of the development of palletization.

Yet for containerization to take off two achievements were critical: standardization and intermodalism. Why was standardization so revolutionary? Martin writes, “Put simply, it is the fact that its size, shape and form were agreed upon, made standard, and applied on a near-universal basis.” (32) Over time, standard box sizes and corner holes for twistlocks were adopted internationally by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Martin also says that the ability of the container “to be moved from one place to the other in an almost seamless fashion is part of the reason for their global rise over the last fifty years. Above all the container’s primary innovation is the ability to deliver goods door to door without needing to unload them every time they are moved from ship, to trains or to trucks.” (3) The container has not been without challenges. Important to note is that the number of dockworkers declined precipitously once containerization really hit its stride in the 1970s. That displacement of workers continues to have effects to this day in many ports. More, the container provided speed and effi ciency of movement for all goods, including the illicit. Martin writes, “With some twenty million shipping containers circulating the globe on an annual basis, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are co-opted and utilized for a range of illegal practices such as tobacco, cigarette and drug smuggling, but also for people trafficking and smuggling.” (76) Martin’s book is an easy read and can be very useful for those who want to have more background on the history and importance of modern shipping. It might help us better understand the lives of seafarers and dockworkers, but, more,

it should help us tell the maritime story to those who take for granted this ordinary object in our lives. GELINA HARLAFTIS. A HISTORY OF GREEK-OWNED SHIPPING: THE MAKING OF AN INTERNATIONAL TRAMP FLEET, 1830 TO THE PRESENT DAY. LONDON: ROUTLEDGE, 1996.

This is an older book, but one that still can be very useful to understand the importance of Greek-owned shipping in our time. The author, Gelina Harlaftis, has taught at the University of Piraeus and the Ionian University in Maritime History. Greek-owned shipping has been a leader of the world fleet for the last several generations. Harlaftis’ book seeks to show that this was not only because of the use of individual entrepreneurs using flags of convenience from the 1940s on, but also because of networks and organizational structures that go back into the 19th century. Harlaftis traces the growth of Greek-owned merchant shipping in international waters from the establishment of the Greek state in the first half of the 19th century. As she mentions, in 1894 Greeks owned 1 per cent of the world fleet; 100 years later they owned the largest fleet, with 16 percent of world tonnage. The book tries to understand this growth, but also why it was so successful. She points to choice of flag – Greek owners were ‘highly opportunistic’ in their choice of flag used by ships

throughout their history – and also to investment in tramp shipping over liners. Greek owners especially took advantage of the decline of the British fleet in the interwar period and were able to gain control of a significant segment of tramp shipping, especially on the Atlantic. Harlaftis writes: “In the 1930s, contrary to contradictions elsewhere due to the world shipping crisis, Greeks bought at rock bottom prices ships disposed of by others and doubled the number of their shipping offices in London.” (xxii) In the next decade, the Second World War provided Greek shippers large profits, but also some key opportunities for growth after the War, especially in close relationship with the United States. After the War, Greek shippers were able to buy up cheaply many war-built ‘Liberty’ ships, but also aggressively entered the tanker market. As Harlaftis relates, from 1941 to 1945 the US and Canada had launched the most massive shipbuilding program the world had ever known. The US alone would build more than 3,000 of these ‘Liberty’ ships in these four years. (235) A key development was that these ships were welded and not riveted – welding techniques improved and meant that ships were lighter and stronger and could be assembled quickly. Greeks continued to purchase Liberty ships into the early 1960s. Harlaftis writes that the peak year for Liberty ownership was 1963. Greeks continued to be known as major purchasers of secondhand vessels. (281) The other key development in these years was the rise of the flag-of-convenience fleet. The first important flag was Panamanian, which, Harlaftis recalls, was initially used as a flag of convenience in 1922 to carry alcoholic beverages during American prohibition. As the US controlled the Panama Canal, it was a natural partnership.

During the Second World War, the Panamanian flag was very useful again as it allowed the shipment of goods in the neutral period before the US entered the war. (240) The ‘opening’ of flags in this period helped Greek owners lessen the tax burden and offered more flexibility with regard to employment and operation. The Greeks had already sailed with foreign flags since the 19th century. However, in the interwar period it was more common to sail under the Greek flag. Yet, Harlaftis recounts that in the post-war period, it was Greek shippers that especially turned to these new, US-controlled flags. “The widespread adoption of foreign flags during this decade was perhaps the most important characteristic of the postwar development of the Greek merchant marine.” (242) Both of these developments – the purchase of older ships and the use of flags of convenience – were not without challenges. Many noted in these years the low safety standards and poor working conditions on these vessels. Under pressure from the International Transport Workers’ Federation and other groups, one significant change was the turn away from the Panamanian flag to the Liberian (opened in 1948) and other flags by Greek shippers in the subsequent generation. Harlaftis uses a rich array of primary sources for her study, and it continues to help understand the history of Greekowned shipping and the developments in shipping that shape the maritime world today. JIANGANG FEI, ED. MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES IN THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY. LONDON: ROUTLEDGE, 2018. This book helps us understand the current challenges associated with recruitment, training, and retention

of personnel and knowledge in the shipping industry. There is a lot of insight in this book that can be useful for port-based seafarers’ welfare providers to give better care of seafarers, but also understand trends that might impact their work in the future. The volume is edited by Jiangang Fei, teacher in the Department of Maritime and Logistics of the National Centre for Ports and Shipping at the Australian Maritime College, with contributions of nine other researchers from Australia and the UK. The ten articles cover a broad range of territory, from recruitment, training, health, retention, crisis management, and knowledge management. As Fei explains in the preface, this book comes at a time in which the maritime industry is finding it difficult to develop and maintain a sustainable workforce (xi). In the first chapter Heather McLaughlin and Colm Fearon explain the challenges of retention; “many practising seafarers no longer regard seafaring as a lifetime career.”(18) In fact, the authors report that the current generation of seafarers spend less than 10 years at sea on average. (18) One key challenge in recruitment and retention is the poor industry image, largely from issues like maritime piracy, poor human resources practices, and criminalization of seafarers. To attract new seafarers, focus needs to be on reducing long duty periods at sea, having longer vacation periods without reduced salary, improving internet access, improving accommodations on board, increasing female presence on ships, and enhancing

job security. (28). In a chapter on employee health and wellbeing, Hossein Enshaei notes that health is being free from illness or injury whereas wellbeing is being comfortable, healthy, or happy. (92) Enshaei notes that the MLC 2006 does touch on “nearly every aspect of working and living conditions for seafarers,” but reminds us that they are “minimum standards”. In fact, “seafarers may have better standards under relevant national laws, or under their employment agreements.” (96) Portbased seafarers’ welfare provision forms part of the resource that promotes seafarers’ wellbeing. Especially appreciated was the chapter on work-life balance by Livingstone Divine Caesar and Jiangang Fei. As they note at the outset of the chapter, “Initially regarded as an issue to be managed by the individual employee, work-life balance has now taken a central position in the employment practices and policies of employers.” (107). But “maintaining work-life balance for shipping industry employees, especially seafarers [sic] is becoming more difficult as a result of long trips and continuous employment contracts.” (107). These long-term contracts “are inimical to the relationship and family life of such seafarers as they are unable to build strong emotional bonds with their families.” (109). Additionally, with poor work-life balance, the stress of the occupation can lead to increased levels of illness on board ships, poor performance/ productivity, and unsafe working practices. (115) There are a number of important insights in the book that have direct relevance to seafarers’ welfare work. It gives a solid vision of the present challenges and future trends in the human part of shipping that could help port-based seafarers’ welfare providers continue to deliver high-quality service. 33


A French Catholic priest, Fr. Thomas Ziegler has sailed as a cruise ship chaplain for 10 years. This book is an intimate portrait of his experience, but it is no simple or easy autobiography. Rather, this book has the purpose to convince us that we need to prioritize the presence of full-time chaplains on board


cruise ships. These cruise ship priests will not just be there to be part of the entertainment or on a quasi-vacation, but there in a profound way as chaplains engaged with passengers and crew. For passengers, the chaplain is especially the one who listens. For the crew, the chaplain is one who shares life. Fr. Ziegler situates the work of cruise ship priests in an understanding of the beginnings and growth of the modern cruise industry. The industry was born in the 1970s, with the realization that the ship could be a destination. The one goal as the industry grew was that passengers should never be bored. The rise of the cruise industry helps understand the realities of globalization in the past generations: Fr. Ziegler calls a cruise ship “a microcosm of humanity.” Yet, the cruise

industry is not intrinsically negative in his eyes. Rather, it is more of a mirror and symptom of our time. It shows us in a kind of refined form what our desires are, but it also exaggerates those cravings into consumable experience. At fi rst glance, Fr. Ziegler writes, the cruise ship is a place devoid of religion. Spiritual life is almost completely evacuated from a typical cruise ship. Yet in what seems to be a spiritual emptiness, when one scratches the surface, his experience that there was an endless desire to go deeper. This is especially true when a priest can be present, in an unhindered way, not pointing towards proselytism. Fr. Ziegler realized that humans have a deep thirst to be heard. Key inspiration for his understanding of maritime ministry comes from blessed Charles de

Foucauld, OCSO, a Catholic priest who lived the last part of his life as a hermit among the Tuareg in the Sahara. In de Foucauld’s apostolate, Fr. Ziegler found one who wanted to have “ordinary meetings in which each person, beginning with the most forgotten, marginalized, excluded, received a word of life.” (149) Fr. Ziegler wrote that in the fi rst years on board ships he focused on ‘doing’; more recently, he has focused on more on ‘being’, on presence. This is a significant book for maritime ministry – one that can nourish important conversations about the nature of chaplaincy on cruise ships but also, in fact, for all those working in the maritime world. It is a book that should be translated into English so that a wider audience can read and discuss.


The lighthouse a friend of the mariner L


ighthouses are the friend of the mariner, and they have a long history of service to seafarers. There are some 21,200 of them around the world, according to the Lighthouse Directory. The earliest lighthouse structure dates back more than two thousand years to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria. The Pharos was built during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus from 280-247 BC. The structure rose more than 100 meters and was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the early days, the source of the light was from fire of burning wood or coal. In the 18th century, the Swiss scientist Aimé Argand invented the Argand lamp which revolutionized the early oil lamps by the introduction of a cylindrical wick which allowed air to flow around increasing the intensity of the light. The Argand lamp principally used whale oil as the fuel, and this was the standard means of illumination for more than one hundred years. By the late 19th century, the first electric lamps were in use, followed by gas lamps. The Swedish Dalén lamp invented by Gustaf Dalén became the lamp of choice at the beginning of the 20th century until the 1960s. However, the continuous improvement in lamps was augmented by the physicists and engineers who turned their attention to the development of lenses that could magnify and focus the light produced by the lamps. In 1823, the French engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel created what became known as the Fresnel lens. The first Fresnel lens was installed in the Cordouan lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde estuary, the entry point for the port of Bordeaux on the French Atlantic coast. The light from the Cordouan lighthouse was visible for more than twenty miles. The Fresnel lens multiplied the power of the light by four times, and two hundred years later, the Fresnel lens remains in service at many lighthouses. The ability to focus the light enabled the revolving lighthouse beam. This was a critical development because it allowed each lighthouse to project its own signature. To mariners positioned some


distance away from the lighthouse the light would appear to flash at set intervals, this discreet code would enable mariners to identify correctly which lighthouse they were observing. As this technology became available, each lighthouse was assigned its unique sequence of flashes, and these were shown on nautical charts. Today, there are “Light List” books that carry the details of every lighthouse showing their unique light sequences and design. The US Coast Guard has seven volumes of Light Lists that cover all of the US mainland and territories. The British Admiralty has a complete set of Light List volumes covering the World. Lighthouses provide guidance to mariners both by day and night, many might assume that lighthouses are principally in use for nighttime navigation. However, by day, they are used as place markers to identify a coastline and for navigators to take bearings and establish their position. For this reason, lighthouses are all different in design, they are painted in different colors and patterns. The colors and patterns enable navigators to readily differentiate one lighthouse from another. Here we need to think back to the era before ships were fitted with satellite positioning systems. When a ship approached the coastline following a long voyage across the open ocean, there was uncertainty concerning the actual location of the ship. Celestial navigation was dependent on being able to take navigational sights with a sextant, this required clear weather to observe the sun and the stars. On cloudy and overcast days ships sometimes sailed for several days without the ability to fix their position. The effects of current and weather could place them at variance with what navigators called their “dead-reckoning” position or “DR,” DR is navigator code for the best estimate. Therefore, a navigator approaching the coast during daylight would consult the navigational chart and key landmarks such as lighthouses would be used to confirm the exact position. Binoculars enabled the markings of a lighthouse to be observed and compared to the Light List. On most coastlines, the lighthouses are spaced so that the next one can be seen before the

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, [Head Harbor Light since 1829.] Campobello Island, NB, Canada. Image: Wikipedia.

present one disappears from view. This allows the navigator to use them to determine position by taking the compass bearings of both and marking the location of the ship on the chart. At night the flashes from a lighthouse would identify the unique signature of that light. For many years, lighthouses were manned by lighthouse keepers, and the construction of lighthouses included living quarters for the lighthouse keeper and his family. The lighthouse keeper kept vigil over the lamp, lens, and machinery. Technology and automation led to the phasing out of almost all keepers. In the US the last manned lighthouse was in Boston in 1998. In the same year, the United Kingdom bid farewell to the last manned lighthouse at the North Foreland in Kent. Canada has retained 51 manned lighthouses for operational reasons in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and British Columbia. Today, many lighthouses are popular tourist attractions and are manned by a new type of lighthouse keeper, usually volunteers who serve as tour guides and running the gift shop and museum. As a former navigator, I had considered leaving the sea in the 1970s with a possible career as a lighthouse keeper. The task of being the keeper of the light resonated with me because I knew

how important that was for the safety of seafarers. However, before I could apply automation arrived and the job of a lighthouse keeper vanished from view. During a business trip to Finland in 2003, our Finnish hosts arranged for us to stay in a lighthouse that had once seen double service as a lighthouse and pilot station. At each level in the high column of the lighthouse, there were bedrooms where pilots had slept while waiting for a ship to pilot. The pilots no longer needed the lighthouse hotel, and it had been converted for use by tourists. That night, I slept soundly in the Kylmapihlaja lighthouse dreaming of what might have been had my aspirations of becoming a lighthouse keeper been realized. Lighthouses have become a symbol for the way forward, and we, therefore, find many references to faith and our spiritual journey. This is captured by the words from Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” (NRSV) Also, in John 8:12, we find the words: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (NRSV) As chaplains who serve seafarers, the symbolism of the lighthouse and the keeper of the light resonate with our work to deliver a compassionate and caring presence to the seafarers at each of our ports. 37

YEAR IN REVIEW Activities to promote work together in NAMMA and ICMA

AUGUST 2018 The 2018 Annual Conference took place at the MITAGS Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, MD, on August 14-17.The overall theme of the conference was “Port Ministry at the Margins”. Despite being a huge industry on which the whole world depends, the maritime industry and its workers, are marginal to all but a few. Our conference considered how to gain support and awareness for seafarers’ welfare by working from the margins to support those on the margin. Conference speakers included RADM Mark Buzby, USN, Ret., and US Maritime Administrator; RADM William D. Baumgartner, USCG, Ret., and VP, Royal Caribbean, Ret.; and CAPT Ryan D. Manning, Chief, Office of Port & Facility Compliance, USCG. SEPTEMBER 2018 ICMA members and partners gathered for a seminar hosted by the Seamen’s Church in Malmö and sponsored by the Swedish Church Abroad. Presentations were given on the power of partnerships with local churches, with labor organizations, with other Christian organizations, and with each other. More than 20 representatives of seafarers’ ministry societies from around the world were represented. One especial highlight was Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, pioneer of the ILO MLC, 2006, and president of the World Maritime University; another was outgoing chair Rev. Heike Proske’s call to partnership in obedience to 1 Corinthians 13: we have “many gifts, but one Spirit.” The next ICMA World Conference will be held on October 21-25, 2019, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. OCTOBER 2018 NAMMA and the International Association for the Study of Maritime Mission (IASMM) announced a new partnership in which NAMMA would host and administer IASMM’s website and promote scholarship in ministry to seafarers (including through MARE).The IASMM was founded in 1990 “to promote the preservation, cataloguing and publicizing of sources for research in maritime mission; to encourage maritime mission studies in places of learning; to provide a forum for debate and discussion by conferences and publications; and to stimulate and facilitate publications on maritime mission.”This partnership promises to continue the IASMM’s work of celebrating our shared history and deepening our theologies of service. It also continues the legacy of IASMM’s late founding member Rev. Dr. Roald Kverndal, with the website’s previous administrator Rev. Clint Padgitt remarking on how pleased Kverndal would have been with this collaboration. (Photo: Vlissingen, NL seafarers’ center chapel). 38

NOVEMBER 2018 NAMMA Executive Director Jason Zuidema presented at a seminar in Helsinki put on by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). His presentation explored the importance of partnerships as displayed in the foundation of the Houston International Seafarers’ Center. Partnerships in seafarers’ welfare can often face significant political, historical, or financial obstacles, but, as in Houston, seafarers are best helped when we figure out how to surmount these obstacles and work together. Part of the ISWAN seminar was a one-day excursion by ferry to Tallinn, Estonia where part of the group visited the Seamen’s Mission of Estonia in Muuga Port. DECEMBER 2018 NAMMA partnered with Professor Wendy Cadge, a sociologist at Brandeis University, to conduct a research project on the relationships between port chaplains and land-based congregations. The project was taken up especially by Dr. Michael Skaggs with NAMMA and asked what those relationships looked like and how they might be strengthened. The project produced academic articles on the history of port chaplaincy, a keynote address by Prof. Cadge at the 2018 NAMMA conference and a helpful video that port chaplains can use to explain their work and illustrate powerfully how important is the work of seafarers’ welfare. JANUARY 2019 On January 31, NAMMA staff joined the large local crowd to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ecumenical seafarers’ ministry in the Port of Houston.The ceremony was held at the new Howard T.Tellepsen Center and led by Executive Director Dana Blume, with speeches by Tom Tellepsen II and Pat Cooney. NAMMA also played a significant role in the days’ events, as the ceremony also launched a book on the center’s history, 50 Years of Service to Seafarers in Port Houston, co-authored by NAMMA’s Jason Zuidema and Rev. David Wells and published through MARE. Rev. Wells says that he was inspired to write the book after the death of co-founder Fr. Rivers Patout: “I realized we need to record all of the history that is part of what Rivers,Taft Lyon, and Sam Duree had founded here with this center… their passion and caring for seafarers was a part of their soul.” FEBRUARY 2019 On February 11-14 Jason Zuidema was down under in Sydney, representing ICMA at an ecumenical conference on training in maritime ministries entitled “Building Bridges.” Jason presented on the scriptural theology of seafarers’ ministry: by following Matthew 25:31-40’s injunction to welcome the stranger and James 1:27’s to visit the isolated. Other topics of the conference included our perceptions of seafarers, the value of debriefs, complications of ministering to a confessionally diverse body, and confronting bureaucratic challenges to seafarers’ shore leave and health care. MARCH 2019 NAMMA co-hosted by Steve Finnesey and the Tampa Seafarers’ Center for the International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP). The IPWP team of Peter Tomlin, Sharon Coveney, and Rebecca Stalker presented on the project and introduced two new developments: a program to train “ambassadors” to support seafarers’ welfare partnerships in their home ports and an upcoming software that gives information on seafarers’ welfare facilities in ports all over the world. Other presentations were on seafarers’ welfare in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the crews of superyachts; the cruise industry; the coast guard; and the ILO. APRIL 2019 On April 17, Jason Zuidema co-chaired a meeting of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) with Transport Canada’s Elisabeth Bertrand and the ITF’s Peter Lahay. In an exciting development, the council resolved to form a special committee on seafarers’ welfare that will meet at CMAC’s Spring and Fall meetings and report to one of the regular standing committees. Bertrand herself expressed interest in receiving more regular updates on the work of seafarers’ ministries and re-affirmed her commitment to attending the NAMMA conference in August. In Jason’s words, “It is wonderful that various threads have come together in this concrete way for this national conversation.”



MAY 2019 On May 19-22 NAMMA was in Washington, DC area to celebrate the US’ National Maritime Day. NAMMA took part in the National Maritime Day mass at the National Catholic Shrine in Washington, meeting with Bishop Brendan Cahill and Sr. Joanna Okereke. Visits were had with Rev. Mary Davisson of the Mission to Seafarers and Andrew Middleton of the Apostleship of the Sea, both in Baltimore. Then to Piney Point, MD for a meeting with David Heindel of the SIU. After, at the National Maritime Day ceremony at MARAD, NAMMA’s president Rev. Marsh Drege gave a speech on safety for seafarers at a seminar organized by NAMEPA. JUNE 2019 June 25 was Day of the Seafarer, and our members and partners found all sorts of different ways to celebrate it: many ministries hosted parties for seafarers, like the Ministry to Seafarers in Vancouver, who had a Filipino-style barbecue; the AoS observed this year’s theme, “I am onboard with gender equality,” by praising qualification-based hiring practices and celebrating female port chaplains; and the IMO observed the theme by asking seafarers how the status of women can be improved (answers included gender-blind hiring, zero-tolerance policies for harassment, and promoting seafaring education for girls). At the same time, Jason Zuidema was in the Port of Antwerp celebrating the ecumenical work being done there. JULY 2019 NAMMA’s videographer, Noah Leon, has been hard at work producing content for an online learning platform for professional development in seafarers’ welfare, currently called “MARETraining.” Courses combine video, text, and interactive lesson components, designed to maximize learner engagement while keeping costs low enough for courses to be accessible to everyone. Here Noah films the Southern Port Welfare Committee meeting in Southampton, UK for an introductory course in partnership with the IPWP project.





Vol. 5, 2019


PUBLISHER JASON ZUIDEMA EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE Michael Skaggs and Kevin Walker CONTRIBUTORS Kevin Walker, Michael Skaggs, Jason Zuidema, Susan Huppert, Sharon Coveney, Carolyn Graham, David Reid, Kunal Narayan PHOTOGRAPHY Cover NAMMA International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network. All photos are copyright NAMMA unless otherwise noted. DESIGN & GRAPHICS Marie Cuffaro In Partnership with Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of The MARE Report or of NAMMA. For guidelines or queries: executivedirector@namma.org For other programs of NAMMA or more information on the organization, visit its website at www.namma.org.

NAMMA, 123 Haven St., PO Box 160, Reading, MA 01867 President REV. MARSH L. DREGE NAMMA exists to provide a network for encouragement, training, and coordination of ministries that serve port communities in North America. THE MARE REPORT © NAMMA 2019 ISSN: 2380-5765 ISBN: 978-0-9905823-7-3 1



Profile for NAMMA

The MARE Report: A Magazine for Seafarers' Welfare Professionals 2019  

The MARE Report (MARE is the 'sea' in Latin) is a magazine published by the North American Maritime Ministry Association to discuss issues a...

The MARE Report: A Magazine for Seafarers' Welfare Professionals 2019  

The MARE Report (MARE is the 'sea' in Latin) is a magazine published by the North American Maritime Ministry Association to discuss issues a...

Profile for namma9