National welfare boards

Whilst the purpose of this guide is to help you create a port welfare committee, you may also want to consider the benefits of establishing a national welfare board (NWB), particularly if you are operating in a country with more than one port area. A national welfare board coordinates all issues regarding seafarer’s welfare within a country.

Read our guide to creating a national welfare board

A NWB should endeavour to include, among its members, representatives of the national ship owners or employers, seafarers’ trade unions and maritime welfare agencies. On this basis it can act as an umbrella for all organisations involved in seafarers’ welfare and additionally represent its interests in the national forums such as the ICSW.

The organisation can be simply a ‘committee’ where members meet on a regular basis, perhaps annually. Alternatively it can be a larger organisation employing a secretary and, if necessary, other members of staff. In this instance, among its duties, it can act as secretariat for all PWCs.

Legal entity

Proper legal registration of a national welfare board helps to avoid problems in the future. Every country has different legal definitions for the various legal entities, so make sure that you choose the right organisational type for your country. Typical attributes of PWCs include: non-profit status, legal incorporation, regular meetings and audited accounts.

A port welfare committee should report directly to the national welfare board.  If sufficient funds are available, the welfare board can provide the secretariat from its head office and this enhances the two way flow of information. Equally it means that experiences affecting one port can be shared with the others and the free flow of information will help everyone to find . A duly constituted port welfare committee should attract assistance from stakeholders nationally and internationally]

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