I just want to wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.
One of the groups I am involved in is the South West Port Welfare Group for the MNWB and I recently attended a PWC Chairman and Vice Chairman’s meeting at the Aztec Hotel Bristol and thought you may be interested in the issues which were talked about during the event. On 1 December Bob Jones Chief Executive welcomed us all – representatives from all 16 Welfare boards attended including representatives from the Sailors Society, Fishermens Mission, AOS and Mission to Seafarers.
The programme included –
MNWB Strategy for 2016/2017
A very enlightening presentation on “Developing a regional PWC strategy” Capt Jerry Drewitt and Ms Alex Finlay (Tees PWC) based on their experiences. This was followed by a presentation from David Kenwright MD Achator Offshore, on the role of the ships agent in seafarer welfare and how they fit in. The remainder of the first afternoon was spent in breakout groups discussing “ MNWB and its PWCs are they fit for purpose.” It was agreed we were fit for purpose although there were several recommendations of what we might be able to do better in the future.
We met again for pre dinner drinks at 1900 hours.
It was with great pleasure that when the announcement of the Seafarer Award was made Bob stated that 3 nominations stood out and it had been decided to give an award to each of the nominees Keith Dickson Mission to Fishermen, Diane Erskine Mission to Seafarers and Drew Anderson from Sailors Society.
An excellent meal was served to us all and Captain Bob Hone former Staff Captain of the QE2 and now a lecturer in Maritime Studies at Plymouth University was our most amusing and enlightening guest speaker.
The following morning both Captain David Parsons and Peter Tomlin updated us on the MNWB review of seafarers centres and findings of the survey to date. This was most interesting but currently as there are a few more weeks to run no outcomes could be discussed, but certainly an interesting and informative review.
The next session for the breakout groups was to discuss The shape of things to come – “ is the seafarer welfare sector fit for purpose” these groups were lively and very interesting feedback and recommendations were forthcoming – there will be lots of challenges for us to face in the future we believe.
Bob Jones summed up the event saying that the two breakout sessions had given the Merchant Navy Welfare Board food for thought but the main point is that Seafarers are still our customers and our main focus.
The event enabled us all to exchange views, best practices and ideas. There were concerns on the role of succession planning – volunteers are definitely the future but there is a lot of work to be done in this area – finding more volunteers with the changing needs of the seafarers.i.e. What does today's seafarer want/need – once again more work and challenges to be faced and definitely interesting times ahead for all Port Welfare Committees and all those who support them.