As posted by SAFETY4SEA on June 20, 2023
SAFETY4SEA announced the winners of the 2023 Crew Welfare Virtual Awards on Tuesday, June 20th, celebrating industry’s outstanding practices in favor of crew welfare and wellbeing.
Seafarers are the true “heart” of global shipping and all industry stakeholders need to join forces to improve their working and living conditions onboard. In order to successfully address the major concerns affecting our seafarers, it is crucial to encourage the sharing of best practices and the implementation of initiatives. In that regard, the Crew Welfare Awards aim to shade light on successful initiatives, inspiring maritime stakeholders to learn from others’ achievements as they work to improve crew welfare.
2023 Crew Welfare Awards honor best practices that can set the example for a more attractive, inclusive and sustainable shipping industry.
…commented Apo Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, adding that: ”This year we had a record of participation and voting and we would like to congratulate all shortlisted nominees for their efforts and best practices that they have applied. At SAFETY4SEA we have set the highest standards and we deeply value the contribution of all distinguished short-listed nominees to crew welfare.’’
The winners of the 2023 Crew Welfare Virtual Awards are:
Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) received the 2023 Crew Welfare Tanker Operator Award for investing in crew training to create a loyal and happy workforce, and boost their morale and wellbeing. In 2022, CSM signed agreement with the Nautilus Pacific Maritime Training Centre, Manila to be the exclusive training center for its seafarers in the Philippines. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Executive Ship Management Pte. Ltd, Fleet Management, Thome Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Mark O’Neil, President/CEO, Columbia Shipmanagement, said: ”I am extremely proud to receive this award. I fairly believe that the most important difference between a successful company and an unsuccessful company is the quality of its people.”
For us, nothing is more important than the welfare of our people in Columbia Shipmanagement and of the crew onboard in our vessels. That involves the training, the compensation package, the nutrition, and fitness.
Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) believes that good training and progressive career opportunities can create a loyal and happy workforce, and boost the morale and wellbeing of crews. CSM has invested huge amounts of time and money on its highly effective training team and systems worldwide. CSM underlined its commitment to top level training of its crew in 2022 by signing an agreement with the Nautilus Pacific Maritime Training Centre in Manila to be the exclusive training centre for its seafarers in the Philippines. The 1,700m2 training centre allows CSM to tap into state-of-the-art simulators, holograms and webinar technology to bring together the highest quality in-person and online seafarer training. CSM works with its partners OneCare Solutions, Mental Health Support Solutions and MCTC to ensure crews are being served nutritious meals, give them access to 24/7 mental health support and offer various health and fitness initiatives. Columbia’s partnership with Adobe and OneLearn Global for the creation of industry leading e-Learning and internet-based Learning Management System is the greatest benefit and tool for its employees. Additionally, CSM upholds distinguished Cadet Programs where they are given world-class training needed to become successful marine officers and engineers. CSM is a firm believer in the power of digitalisation and leads the way in innovative technologies.
Synergy Marine Group received the 2023 Crew Welfare Dry Bulk Operator Award for focusing on welfare and diversity on its strategy. Among other initiatives, the company provides tailor-made Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to female seafarers designed by textile engineers in conjunction with female seafarers and maritime safety experts to ensure comfort and versatility. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Berge Bulk Maritime Pte Ltd, Oldendorff Carriers, OSM Maritime Shipmanagement (Dry) Pte. Ltd. and Wallem Group.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Capt. Anshul Rajvanshi, Managing Director, Synergy Maritime Recruitment Services Private Limited, said: ‘’At Synergy we believe that our performance of our company depends on the performance of seafarers onboard. That can be good, only if ensure the wellbeing all of seafarers and keep them inspired to do better every day.”
The number of female seafarers and their role are growing. Good things are not happening by magic. Thanks to all for this award
Synergy Marine Group is one of the world’s leading ship managers with a diverse fleet of over 540 vessels that employs over 20,000 seafarers. Company’s CEO and Founder, Captain Rajesh Unni supports that mental health awareness should be made a core component of first aid seafarer training. Synergy has engaged in many initiatives to address seafarer welfare, actively supporting diversity as well. Ten years ago, Synergy launched a free and wholly confidential counselling service – iCALL – in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, to support the mental health and well-being of all maritime personnel. Keeping seafarer emotional well-being front and center, Synergy Marine Group (SMG) and Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. (PTC) have partnered to bring the seafarer community together as one under WeTeam. In March 2023, Synergy announced that it provides tailor-made Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to female seafarers on more than 60 vessels. Synergy’s progressive policies on diversity, inclusivity and equality have enabled women employed by Synergy, as well as the company itself, to grow and prosper. Synergy’s commitment to encouraging women to become seafarers now includes its own Chakra Scholarship which enables 14-15 years old students to begin training to join the maritime industry
Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc. received the 2023 Crew Welfare Crew Manager Award for launching the project RISE (Resiliency Improvement Support and Education) with the aim to help enhance the overall level of resiliency and disaster response preparedness among communities in the Philippines. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila), Inc., Elvictor Group Inc., Global Seaways and Magsaysay.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Vivian Cristobal, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Philippine Transmarine Carriers , said: “Project RISE which stands for Resiliency, Improvement, Support and Education for CFA communities, was born out of PTC’s commitment to empowering our global maritime professionals to not only move the world but to take care of themselves as well.”
This groundbreaking initiative offers a comprehensive and collaborative approach to disaster preparedness and community resilience. We have always supported our mission of promoting people, prosperity, and planet to move a sustainable world. Thank you.
Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc (PTC Group) focuses on crew welfare and seafarers’ resilience. The company has been one of the partners of the Project RISE. RISE stands for ‘’Resiliency Improvement Support and Education’’ and aims to help enhance the overall level of resiliency and disaster response preparedness among communities in the Philippines. The goal of project RISE is to develop and implement disaster preparedness programs that will target six (6) disaster-prone communities to enhance their resiliency and serve as model communities. The PTC Group, based in Manila, has emerged beyond crew management to offer an integrated value chain of services which include Shipping, Real Estate, Energy, Hospitality and Leisure, Aviation, and International Professional Placement. The PTC Group has engaged in many projects to support seafarers. For example, it offers a free counselling service – WeTeam – that is confidential and available 24/7 in over 14 languages. PTC encourages continuous self-improvement and promotes enhanced quality of life, one family at a time. Through the PTC-CSJ Foundation, organized in 2010 in memory of Carlos Salinas, Jr., the PTC Group embraces corporate social responsibility by supporting community initiatives and ongoing global philosophies.
GAC received the 2023 Crew Welfare Service Provider Award for providing a vital lifeline for crew during challenging times. In particular, at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, GAC leveraged its global network and expertise to provide vessel owners, operators and managers with tools, resources and knowledge to protect crew on board while complying with changing regulations. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: IMEQ Center, Inmarsat, Kyvernitis Travel Group, OneCare Solutions and VIKAND.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Maria Angelidou, Group Marketing Manager, GAC, said: “We all know how tough and demanding the life of seafarer is. Not only do they have the demands of the job, but they are also dealing with the stress of being away from their loved ones, tight deadlines, long working hours, poor sleep, quality, and fatigue after long periods at sea.”
Crew welfare has always been a priority for GAC, even more during COVID, when our maritime heroes were at their most vulnerable and in need of support.
At the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, GAC leveraged its global network and expertise to provide industry with tools, resources and knowledge to protect crew on board while complying with changing regulations. GAC provided updates to industry and customers on COVID-19 news and regulations through a dedicated webpage and a daily Hot Port News bulletin. Among many actions, GAC facilitated in-person testing and arranged Covid-19 swab tests with transportation, related documentation and liaison with authorities. The company also arranged crew transfers and safe transportation to vaccination and quarantine facilities with paperwork required. During the pandemic, GAC ensured medical supplies were provided onboard and facilitated emergency evacuation of COVID-positive crew. GAC became a vital lifeline for crew as it facilitated safe passage of crew and smooth personnel changes, ensuring vessels were well stocked with food, water and other supplies. GAC adapted to every scenario by developing localised solutions to support crew. For example, in Sri Lanka, it worked with authorities to perform direct bulk crew changes via exclusive charter flights. Additionally, GAC signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change to show support to seafarers’ wellbeing.
The Mission to Seafarers received the 2023 Crew Welfare Non- Profit Organization Award for launching the ‘SafeTALK program’ which is a comprehensive suicide prevention program, being instrumental in promoting the welfare of seafarers, and training Port Chaplains and volunteers as Suicide Alert Helpers. The program includes a maritime-specific SafeTALK training course and workshops, providing comprehensive suicide prevention support to seafarers. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: ISWAN (International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network), Sailors’ Society, Seafarers Hospital Society and Stella Maris.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Reverend Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, said: “Seafarers are particularly vulnerable at sea, remote from the support networks that most of us take for granted. To have the tools enabling a proactive response to suicide prevention is transformational. I’m proud of this program and I’m glad it’s being recognized.”’
I’m even more pleased about the increasing attention being given to this aspect of seafarer welfare. This is a tough subject, but it is everyone’s business and together we care
The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) has been at the forefront of providing support and care for seafarers for over 160 years. Recognising the need for a comprehensive suicide prevention program, MtS partnered with LivingWorks in 2021, to utilise its SafeTALK program and the results have been impressive. The program has been instrumental in promoting the welfare of seafarers, and training Port Chaplains and volunteers as Suicide Alert Helpers. The course confronts why some miss, dismiss, or avoid talking about suicide, empowering them to use the TALK steps to take action – Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe. Suicide Alert Helpers are confident in recognising people with thoughts of suicide and connecting them to a suicide first aid resource. In 2021, MtS qualified its Programme Manager, Thomas O’Hare, as a LivingWorks SafeTALK trainer and developed a maritime-specific SafeTALK training course. The SafeTALK project has achieved significant progress and direct achievements. In 2022, 14 SafeTALK workshops were delivered, training 186 people across 26 organisations, with 97% of participants willing to refer others to attend the course.
IMO-WISTA Maritime Speakers Bureau received the 2023 Crew Welfare Diversity & Inclusion Award for providing a platform with the intention to end the tradition of all-male speaking panels at international conferences. The platform offers opportunity to women in maritime to participate in panels and to event organizers the tools to make their panels more inclusive, diverse and interesting. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Image Line Communications Ltd, International Chamber of Shipping, Mental Health Support Solutions and The Seafarers’ Charity.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, said: “I strongly believe that women need to be represented in maritime and share their experiences and expertise. This can best be achieved by insuring diverse and inclusive panels in conferences and events. That is why IMO together with WISTA International have launched the Speaker’s Bureau, promoting female speakers.”
There are many knowledgeable and experienced women out there and their contributions are invaluable in shaping a more diverse and inclusive maritime sector.
Accepting the award on behalf of the winner, Elpi Petraki, President of WISTA International said: “It is very important to highlight this initiative from IMO and WISTA on bringing out in the spotlight women who are experts in their fields and are able to speak about their expertise.”
We would like to call all conference organizers to use the platform when they have difficulties in finding women for their panels and, in this way, play an important role in the visibility of women in maritime.
The Maritime Speakers Bureau platform, launched in October 2022 by the IMO and WISTA International. IMO and WISTA International are passionate about ensuring that sector conferences and events have a diversity of thought and inclusive panels are the top way to achieve this. The two organizations have created this new platform which is a speaker bank for the women in maritime, intending to end the tradition of all-male speaking panels, sometimes referred to as ‘manels’. The IMO and WISTA International aim to promote women’s voices in the shipping industry and increase the number of women speakers. This will show more diverse role models and eliminate the excuse that “I cannot find a female speaker”; and simplify the process of finding speakers. It is free to register and use by speakers and organizers. The Maritime Speakers Bureau website is seeking positive commitment by asking people to sign one or more of its pledges: for speakers; organizers; and sponsors. By signing, they are committing to highlighting where there is a lack of diversity at events and doing what they can to improve things to ensure that maritime events have diversity and inclusion. The IMO-WISTA Maritime Speakers Bureau aims to provide a comprehensive global directory of women experts in various subjects related to the maritime industry, including highly technical issues, rather than solely focusing on diversity and inclusion topics.
Marlon Roño, President and CEO, Magsaysay People Resource Corp. received the 2023 Crew Welfare Personality Award or his overall contribution to promote the seafaring profession as a career of choice. Throughout his career, Marlon Roño has hold several key positions at Magsaysay Group of Companies and has been actively involved in various maritime and shipping industry initiatives in support of seafarers’ health, training & development and crew welfare in the Asia Pacific Region.
Accepting the award, Marlon Roño said: “Our organization decided to maintain the good learnings we had during the pandemic days and implement new ways and means of responding to the needs of the industry and most of all, our very important assets, our people.
Today we maintain over 60,000 highly competent seafarers around the world who are responsible for keeping us strong and growing. This recognition is dedicated to them as well as to their loved ones.
Marlon Roño is the President and CEO of Magsaysay People Resources Corporation, the holding company of the Magsaysay Human Resource Group employing over 60,000 professionals. Roño is actively involved in the efforts of maritime industry associations to promote the seafaring profession as a career of choice. Roño is also the Executive Chairman of Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, the leading crew management company in the Asia Pacific Region. He was the Past President of the Filipino Association of Mariners Employment (FAME), the largest maritime employment association in the Philippines. Marlon Roño is also the Director of the industry-wide Philippine Joint Maritime Group which is composed of all stakeholders of the Philippine Maritime and Manning Industries and Director of the largest land-based sending organization, Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI). Roño is also involved in Community and Social Development advocacies as the President of Homer Foundation Inc., the Corporate Social Arm of Magsaysay Group and General Manager and Founding Member of the largest Seafarers’ Cooperative in the Philippines – MagCoop Multipurpose Cooperative.
Capt. George Vasilakis, Managing Director, Optimum Ship Services Ltd, received the 2023 Crew Welfare Leadership Award, sponsored by NorthStandard, for his invaluable contribution to the maritime industry, supporting crew welfare throughout his career. Being a firm advocate for creating a culture of psychological safety, Capt Vasilakis has led various projects, trainings and initiatives that demonstrate genuine concern for the seafarers and their wellbeing.
Presenting the award on behalf of the sponsor, Colin Gillespie, Director Loss Prevention, NorthStandard, commented
When George first told me about their wellbeing and mental health program, I was most impressed by three elements. The first was the perseverance and determination shown by George and his team. The second, was the willingness to try and see what worked and the third, and most important, is George’s humility and humanity. He really cares about his crew, and he really wanted this program to work
Accepting the award, Capt. George Vasilakis, said:
Creating a culture of psychological safety is not easy. It takes time and resources and a lot of effort. We have made good progress but there is a lot of room for improvement in many areas and we are still trying, therefore we cannot stop. We believe that happy and healthy people manage safer ships.
Capt. George Vasilakis started his career in 1988 and has a total shipping experience of more than 31 years. He is the Managing Director at Optimum Ship Services Ltd. and throughout his career, he has been actively supporting seafarers and their wellbeing. Capt. George Vasilakis has extensive shore based Technical Fleet Management and Commercial experience combined with a solid sea going expertise as a Captain on OBO carriers, Oil and Chemical tankers He has a Master’s degree in Maritime Economics and Law from the University of Cardiff U.K. and a multilingual professional with international exposure. He is a supporter of the Safer Together program and a firm advocate for creating a culture of psychological safety in shipping. Capt Vasilakis has led various projects, trainings and initiatives that demonstrate genuine concern for the seafarers and their wellbeing. Among many actions, Capt Vasilakis has encouraged the development of a Wellbeing Working Group and Well Being Check lists to monitor effectively seafarers’ wellbeing. ‘’Supporting Seafarers at work should be something you think about and work on every day. ’Capt. Vasilakis believes.