WATCH: New committee will support visiting seafarers
A NEW committee to support seafarers visiting Gladstone has been established.
The Port Welfare Committee pilot project is a world-wide initiative of the International Seafarers' Welfare Assistance Network, and is focused on improving the welfare services and support made available to seafarers when they call in at different ports around the world.
The challenges faced by seafarers was highlighted last week when it was revealed a ship crew of 21 hadn't been paid for two months.
On a ship that docked in Gladstone harbour, the men, from the Philippines, were transporting bauxite from Weipa to Rio Tinto QAL aboard the Japanese-owned AOM Milena.
Currently, the Gladstone Mission to Seafarers looks after visiting seafarers by providing fellowship and practical support including transport, access to shops, the internet and communications with home.
The Gladstone Port Welfare Committee will supplement and build on the service provided by the Mission to Seafarers, by providing a forum in which representatives from organisations that deal with the welfare of seafarers can meet to discuss and coordinate their actions.
ISWAN project manager Peter Tomlin is in Gladstone this week for the inaugural meeting of the Gladstone committee.
He said Gladstone had been chosen as the first port under this initiative to increase the amount of Port Welfare Committees across the world.
"The men and women who live and work at sea are often away from their families and friends for many months, working long hours at demanding jobs, landing at foreign countries for only short periods of time," Mr Tomlin said.
"A port visit to Gladstone offers an important opportunity for a seafarer to rest and unwind, to communicate with their families, to see a doctor, to seek advice or visit local shops."
Former Gladstone Harbour Master Mike Lutze has been elected committee chairman, supported by Peter Jones of Wilhelmsen Ship Services as vice chairman.
Gladstone Ports Corporation will coordinate the various groups and representatives involved.
GPC chief executive officer Craig Doyle said the corporation fully supported the pilot project.
The first committee meeting will be held tonight.