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ITF Seafarers’ Trust: Crew don’t necessarily feel the uptick in the markets

Following on from Monday’s interview with the head of the Mission to Seafarers, Maritime CEO continues in a similar vein, getting the viewpoint from the recently installed head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust.

Katie Higginbottom, who took over as the head of the UK charity in July, has been with the ITF for the past 13 years, most recently as projects and campaigns leader in the maritime section.

Higginbottom does not see much correlation between improving markets and better treatment of crew.

“Seafarers don’t necessarily feel the uptick in the markets,” she tells Maritime CEO, adding: “The only way to improve the situation is to get these bad owners out of business, and getting authorities around the world to enforce rules better.”

During her tenure at the helm of the crewing charity Higginbottom is keen to foster greater cooridnation and collaboration among shipping’s stakeholders. She is looking to develop greater relationships, for instance, with port operators on seafarer welfare and occupational health and safety as well as helping out with data collection.

Mental health, communiucatons, access to leave and transport ashore remain four key issues Higginbotton is focused on at the moment.

“It is becoming more and more of a human right to have digital access,” Higginbottom maintains, saying the trust will be doing more campaigning on this issue.

The other initiative Higginbottom uses the Maritime CEO platform to highlight is the new MARI-WEL training programme launched in August.

Although training has been available in different aspects of maritime welfare, there has not yet been a training programme that addresses all aspects, giving participants a full 360-degree perspective on maritime welfare. Cue MARI-WEL – the Professional Development Programme in Maritime Welfare.

MARI-WEL is a new training programme specifically designed to provide the skills and knowledge needed to support seafarer welfare. Created through collaboration between the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and the World Maritime University (WMU), it is the first programme of its kind to deliver a comprehensive and innovative distance-learning course of topics that relate to maritime welfare. From the latest developments in IMO codes and conventions to the role and ethics of social intervention, this course covers all the bases.

MARI-WEL is delivered via an online portal through a series of activities and video lectures given by top experts in their field and is accredited by the WMU. It allows participants to undertake the programme from anywhere in the world, with the flexibility to follow the course at their own speed and as time allows.

“In terms of a professional approach to maritime welfare training, we believe MARI-WEL is set to become the gold standard,” Higginbottom concludes.


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