The new patron of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust has commended the body’s aims during his first attendance at a trustees’ meeting. Efthimios Mitropoulos, secretary-general emeritus of the International Maritime Organization, who became patron of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust this year said: “I consider the aims of the trust – to make seafarers healthier, less isolated, better represented and better connected with their loved ones – noble and worth pursuing and I will do anything I can to add my contribution to achieving them.” Established by the ITF in 1981 as a body with charitable status under UK law, the trust is dedicated to the spiritual, moral and physical welfare of seafarers, irrespective of their nationality, race or creed. Over the coming year, it will award £1 million in grants and provision for seafarers who become victims of piracy. For example, £278, 000 will be given to 16 applicants, mainly for vehicles and equipment for port-based welfare. Additional ongoing funding will be made available to bodies such as Seafarers’ Rights International; the trust has donated nearly £11 million in the last two years to a variety of organisations providing seafarers’ welfare services.
The Seafarers’ Trust is also supporting the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) through the secondment of its assistant administrative officer Roy Paul, to a full-time MPHRP programme director post for the next two years. In addition, a one-year review of its operations will take place. ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “The work of the Seafarers’ Trust is something we are very proud of at the ITF. We are delighted to see it continuing to make a real difference to seafarers’ lives, and we are confident that it will emerge from this review period even stronger and more effective than it is now.”