Who we are

ISWAN was formed to bring together the main organisations involved in seafarers' welfare both onboard and ashore. The main role of ISWAN has been to promote the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and recommendations concerned with the welfare of seafarers, namely ILO convention 163 and recommendation 173. This role is now much more pertinent with the ratification of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 that focuses on seafarers' welfare and wellbeing.

ISWAN works to support of welfare organisations that provide direct welfare services to seafarers. We work to enable the establishment of welfare facilities and services in port and on ships. We work with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations (secular and faith based), and ports for the benefit of seafarers' welfare.

The leading members of the organisation include the International Shipping Federation (ISF), International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA). The ILO is an observer organisation on our board of trustees. Other organisations such as National Seafarer Welfare Boards, Government seafarer services, shipping companies, and individual welfare organisations are also members.

What we do

ISWAN runs a series of projects and programmes to establish welfare facilities, services, and structures throughout the world. In South East Asia we have a programme to set up national welfare boards and port welfare committees. We facilitate the channelling of resources to establish and enhance welfare provision in ports.

We train ship visitors around the world to go on board to befriend seafarers, provide advice, and enable them to contact home. So far we have trained over 1000 ship visitors. We also produce and distribute information for seafarers on improving health and preventing diseases such as HIV and malaria. We produce a port directory for seafarers with details of welfare provision and local amenities. Other projects include an online toolkit on seafarers’ welfare and fundraising capacity building for local seafarer welfare organisations.

The ICSW has launched an annual international award scheme to recognise excellence in welfare practice and provision – the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards.

More in this category: Our Toolkits »

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