The Seafarers’ Trust was responsible for providing the necessary funding for the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) that was launched back in September of 2011 when maritime piracy was at its highest, with many sailors being subjected to serious pirate attacks and armed robberies.

ITF Seafarers’ Trust to renew support regarding humanitarian response to sailors affected by maritime piracy

Trust funding made it possible for MPHRP to contribute significantly to seafarers’ welfare support, as well as to their families that had been caught up in and affected by such attacks. Additionally, the MPHRP has managed to achieve considerable recognition in the industry and has contributed a great deal to the higher focus on harm to sailors arising from the various acts of piracy.

The Seafarers’ Trust funding for core operations was scheduled over a time frame of three years and is to conclude in March this year.

Despite a recent significant reduction in piracy incidents, especially when regarding those emanating from Somalia, the Trust has decided that it would be wrong if all of the wealth of experience that was built up by the MPHRP is to be lost once the programme has officially ended. When regarding the different regions, act of piracy still remains at a level that needs to be addressed and thoroughly looked into.

The Seafarers’ Trust has made the decision of providing new funding to the MPHRP for its cause. The Trust’s beliefs are that with the recent drop off regarding incidents that emanate from Somalia the Programme is going to need to refocus and pinpoint its work. The Trust also wishes the MPHRP to be able to develop plans which would help it become part of an existing charitable structure, like the SWAN, by this year’s end.

David Heindel, chair of the trustees of the Seafarers’ Trust, said:

“The MPHRP has done a fair portion of good work for the benefit of sailors and their respective families who have had to experience considerable trauma resulting from acts of piracy. While Seafarers’ Trust funding was divided to last for a time period of three years, the trustees strongly believe and think that the MRHRP has made all effort necessary towards deserving the opportunity of continuing its good work despite the sharp reduction regarding piracy incidents since 2011. We feel, however, that the time for the Programme to move under the umbrella of an existing, established charity is now and it should be done by the end of this year, and our continued support along with this new funding is our way of encouraging this. Our belief is that if incorporated within an existing charity, like the ISWAN, the MPHRP humanitarian response work will be fully able to continue in the long term.”

Kimberly Karlshoej, head of the Seafarers’ Trust, said:

“Despite the lowering number of sailors being held hostage for long periods of time, the psychological and physical trauma that seafarers have to deal with as a result of piracy is sadly still a reality we have to cope with. The Trust plans to continue to make sure that the seafarers’ health and welfare are a top priority by maintaining MPHRP’s knowledge and framework in place for all seamen and their families to receive the proper assistance in all necessary situations.”