London International Shipping Week 2023: Conference to discuss seafarer welfare

Maritime charities and industry leaders will come together on 12 September in London to discuss the importance of seafarer welfare and wellbeing as shipping embraces environmental, social and governance goals.

Held as part of London International Shipping Week 2023, Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, The Mission to Seafarers and The Seafarers’ Charity are coming together to host a major industry conference on seafarer welfare and wellbeing. The Fishmongers’ Company are very kindly hosting the conference in their beautiful and historic grade ll* listed building, Fishmongers’ Hall, with its unrivalled riverside location, unique history and rich architecture.

The event will open with remarks from the Chair, Julian Clark, Vice President & Senior Legal Advisor, Gard AS, and feature two different panels that will examine how crew welfare is vital as the shipping industry moves toward more sustainable, safe and diverse operations.

The panel discussions will focus on two different themes. The first session will focus on how the maritime charities and industry can further collaborate to improve seafarer welfare. Graham Westgarth, Chairman V Group and President UK Chamber of Shipping, will deliver a keynote speech. The panel will include representatives from Thomas Miller, ISWAN, Gard, Navigator Gas and The Mission to Seafarers.

The second session will discuss how together, the maritime charities and industry can support an increasingly diverse workforce. Heidi Heseltine, Founder, Diversity Study Group Ltd and CEO, Halcyon Recruitment, will deliver the keynote talk. This will be followed by a panel discussion that includes representatives from Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, The Seafarers’ Charity, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and Carisbrooke Shipping.

In a joint statement, Sailors’ Society CEO, Sara Baade, Chief Executive Officer of Stella Maris, Tim Hill MBE, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, The Revd Canon Andrew Wright and Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity, Deborah Layde, said:

“Seafaring can be tough. This is why the world’s seafarers deserve decent working conditions and support for their welfare. Many shipping companies recognise this, but when they don’t, maritime welfare charities are often relied upon to step in and pick up the pieces. Everyone has a role to play and the least we can do is ensure that seafarers are aware of the range of welfare support that is available to them. Through collaborating as maritime charities with ship owners and managers, P&I Clubs, flag states, legal firms and supra-national bodies we can ensure that the welfare and wellbeing of all seafarers and fishers remains in sharp focus. Working together with the wider industry, we can provide the world’s 1.9 million seafarers and their families with the support and empowerment they need. 

“With many hundreds of years of experience between us, we also recognise that there is a need for change. New internet services will enable seafarers to access welfare support not just in port, but at home and at sea too. We also recognise that more needs to be done to support not only the recruitment, but the retention, of women who choose a career at sea. Research has proven time and again that they have different welfare needs. and just because they are in a minority does not mean these needs should be ignored.”

For more information on the conference, the full agenda, and details on joining virtually, please click here: