ISWAN Officially Launches on 1 April

It's farewell to the ICSW and ISAN and welcome to ISWAN. On 1 April 2013 the International Committee on Seafarers' Welfare (ICSW) & the International Seafarers' Assistance Network (ISAN) formally merge to become the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).

ISWAN emerges as the outcome of two years' of collaboration between the two organisations, our members and our funders. The new organisation will harness the strength of both our parent organisations to provide a stronger, more unified and cohesive voice to speak up on the international stage whenever seafarers' welfare is tabled. ICSW brings to ISWAN the benefits of its membership structure involving employers, unions, and welfare providers while ISAN contributes its first-hand experience of day to day problems faced by seafarers.

ISWAN will provide direct welfare services to seafarers. The 24 hour multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, runs every day of the year and is free for seafarers to call from anywhere in the world. In 2012 SeafarerHelp helped over 4000 seafarers and their families. ISWAN also administrates an emergency welfare fund for seafarers in dire need, produces health information for seafarers, and provides information to seafarers on the 450 seafarer centres all over the world.

ISWAN will promote the welfare of seafarers worldwide. It will work in support of organisations and bodies that provide direct welfare services to seafarers. ISWAN will facilitate the maintenance and establishment of welfare facilities and services in ports and on ships. ISWAN will also bring together and support its members to share learning and experiences to improve seafarers' welfare. In particular, ISWAN will work for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 in partnership with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations (secular and faith based), and ports for the benefit of seafarers' welfare.

Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN said, 'The new organisation will be able to serve both seafarers and welfare organisations a lot more effectively. ISWAN brings together practical experience of dealing with seafarers' welfare problems and the strategic issue of developing and sustaining welfare services, facilities, and structures. We aim to grown our influence by recruiting more members from the industry, particularly from shipping companies and ports.'

ISWAN is holding a reception to officially launch the organisation on 17 April in London. The guests of honour at the reception will be Ms Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Organisation, and Mr Jim Fitzpatrick MP, ex-UK Minister for Shipping.

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