Why are port welfare committees important?

Seafarers are vital to world trade, to the prosperity of their own country and to the ports they visit during their voyages. A visit to a port is an opportunity for crews to telephone or email family and friends, take a break from the routine at sea, see new places, meet new people, and receive care, so it is essential that ports provide for the needs of seafaring men and women.

Welfare means the care of fellow men and women, pastoral and spiritual support, financial well-being, good health, happiness, prosperity, security, companionship and much more.

Who benefits from port welfare committees?

Port welfare committees (and national welfare boards) provide a significant benefit to many people and organisations. Apart from seafarers, port authorities, welfare agencies, unions and ship owners all benefit from the coordinating effect of a port welfare committee.

Who should be involved with the port welfare committee?

The most effective port welfare committees include representatives of different organisations. If you’re interested in setting up a port welfare committee, you may be a:

  • Shipping company
  • Ship management company
  • Maritime organisation
  • Welfare organisation
  • Crewing agent
  • Ship visitor
  • Harbour master
  • ITF inspector
  • Coastguard
  • Port police
  • Port authority
  • Port owner

Key features of effective port welfare committees

Port welfare committees need to fit into their environment. Because every port has different needs, created by different circumstances, every PWC is different.

However, PWCs around the world have a few common features:

  • Cooperation. PWCs are strong and effective because they involve all relevant agencies.
  • Projects. PWCs identify the needs of seafarers and create and implement projects to address those needs.
  • Organisation. PWCs are independent bodies that serve as a channel for improving seafarer’s welfare at ports, bringing together people from different types of organisation under one identity.


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