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It was a full house at the first ‘Maritime Silk Road Ports & Seafarers Seminar’ held in Shanghai on 7th July. Organised by the ISWAN International Port Welfare Partnership (IPWP) programme, the event was attended by over 100 representatives from the Shanghai regional maritime sector. Frank and open discussions were held on better ways to support and manage port welfare in order to improve seafarers access to shore based welfare facilities and enhance their quality of life. The event theme was ‘Create a better world for seafarers” and it opened with speakers from Chinese maritime senior management, the Deputy British Consul and members of the maritime welfare sector who joined together in a symbolic ‘hand shaking ceremony’.

‘The resounding success of the conference is the result of an excellent collaborative, partnership effort, which bodes extremely well for future relations’ stated Peter Tomlin, IPWP Global Programme Director. He added ‘Without regional support from across the the Chinese maritime community, the assistance of Ben Zhang and his team (MFEC, Shanghai), Prof. Minghua and Capt Pengfei (China Centre Maritime, Southampton Solent University), this inaugural event would not have been possible.'

Roger Harris, ISWAN Executive Director, took the opportunity to inform delegates about the important work of his organisation, in particular ‘SeafarerHelp’ its free global seafarers welfare helpline, and Peter Tomlin briefed everyone on the IPWP programme. He underlined topical seafarers’ welfare issues and highlighted the invaluable work of the voluntary organisations and maritime funders who provide and support seafarers’ welfare, which Chinese seafarers benefit from when visiting other ports around the world.

The IPWP programme team also addressed audiences at the first Shanghai Seafarers Forum (800 local delegates) on 9th July and the 3rd Annual International Maritime Silk Road Ports Forum' (460 delegates) held in Ningbo on 12th July.

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