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AMOSUP HOSTS ICSW REGIONAL CONFERENCE

The Fifth South East Asia Regional Seafarers’ Welfare Committee Meeting of the London-based International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) was held in Manila from 12 thru 14 April 2010.

Hosted by the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP-PTGWO-ITF), the meeting was attended by over 30 delegates and participants from Southeast Asian and European nations.  Dr. Conrado Antonio F. Oca, Executive Vice President of AMOSUP, warmly welcomed the delegates in his opening address and extended the President’s, Capt. Gregorio Oca’s, sincerest wishes for a successful and fruitful event.  Ms. Linda Wirth, Director of the ILO Sub-Regional Office in Manila, also attended the ceremonies and cited the intended gains and welfare benefits for seafarers under the MLC. The Guest of Honor, Philippine Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque, delivered the Keynote Address to the assembly and clearly outlined the government’s welfare services and its plans for seafarers.  ICSW Executive Director Roger Harris, ICSW Regional Coordinator I. Dewa Nyoman Budiasa and ITF Seafarers’ Trust Asst. Administrative Officer Roy Paul also articulated their messages to the delegates.

Chaired by Jose Raul V. Lamug, Assistant to the President of AMOSUP, the three-day regional meeting saw a number of informative presentations from ILO, ICMA, ISAN, IACLMA, plus a seafarer’s personal account of life at sea and after, and country reports from the Asian delegations.  The Committee also had the opportunity to sail on board the union’s dedicated training ship, T/S Kapitan Felix Oca, to and from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in Bataan, where they were hosted and given a full briefing by MAAP President VAdm. Eduardo Ma. R. Santos, AFP (Ret.).  The highlight of the visit to the academy was the interview with several cadets who gave straightforward answers and impressed upon all delegates their excellent character formation and level of preparedness to serve as future officers of the international maritime fleet.

ICSW is charitable organization that renders assistance and services to all seafarers in the form of grants to welfare organizations serving seafarers’ social needs in many ports the world over, funding undertakings that benefit maritime workers through its regional development programs, and implementing the welfare provisions of the MLC and other relevant international instruments.

From Manila, almost all delegates proceeded the day after to the island-province of Bohol.  ICSW, through its Regional Development Program, organized an ITF Seafarers’ Trust funded Seminar on Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support with modules on Assisting Individuals in Stress & Critical Incident Stress Management, from 16 thru 19 April 2010 at the Bohol Tropics Resort Hotel.  Facilitated by Ireland-based Dr. Marion C.A. Gibson in cooperation and coordination with two (2) prominent training providers – the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and the University of Maryland in Baltimore – the 3-day course which had continuing education credit units was attended by over forty (40) participants.

The participants in attendance were from Cambodia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, Vietnam and the Philippines representing seafarers’ centers, church missions, religious and civic groups, port chaplaincies, port administrations and labor organizations, all actively assisting seafarers with their social welfare needs while ashore or on shore leave in ports across the globe.