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Response to seafarers subjected to maritime piracy

ITF Seafarers’ Trust renews support for a humanitarian response to seafarers subjected to maritime piracy

The Seafarers’ Trust provided core funding for the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) launched in September 2011 when maritime piracy was at its peak, with many seafarers subjected to serious attacks by pirates and armed robbers.

Trust funding enabled the MPHRP to make a significant contribution to the welfare support of seafarers, and their families caught up in and affected by such attacks. In addition, the MPHRP has achieved considerable recognition in the industry and contributed to the higher focus on harm to seafarers arising from acts of piracy.

The Seafarers’ Trust funding for core operations was for three years and ends in March 2015.

Although there has been a significant reduction in piracy incidents, more particularly those emanating from Somalia, the Trust has determined it would be wrong for the wealth of experience built up by the MPHRP to be lost by the ending of the programme. Acts of piracy remain in different regions at a level that need to be addressed.

The Seafarers’ Trust has decided to provide new funding to the MPHRP. The Trust believes that with the drop off of incidents emanating from Somalia the Programme will need to refocus its work. The Trust also wishes the MPHRP to develop plans to become part of an existing charitable structure, such as ISWAN, by the end of 2015.

David Heindel, chair of the trustees of the Seafarers’ Trust, commented: “The MPHRP has done some good work for the benefit of seafarers and their families who have experienced considerable trauma. While Seafarers’ Trust funding was for a finite three years, the trustees believe that the MRHRP deserves the opportunity to continue its good work despite the sharp reduction in piracy incidents since 2011. However, we feel the time is right for the Programme to move under the umbrella of an existing, established charity by the end of the year, and the continued support of the Trust and the new funding is to encourage this. We believe being within an existing charity, such as ISWAN, the MPHRP humanitarian response work will be capable of being continued in the long term.”

Kimberly Karlshoej, head of the Seafarers’ Trust, commented: “Although the numbers of seafarers being held hostage for long periods of time has fallen, the psychological and physical trauma of seafarers affected by piracy is still a reality. The Trust will continue to ensure the health and welfare of seafarers are prioritised by keeping MPHRP's knowledge and framework in place for the seafarers and their families to receive assistance where and when it is needed.”


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