Our Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho, head of the seafarers’ department, accompanied delegates from the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) -Philippines in the recent Regional East Asia Conference of the International Christian Maritime Association(ICMA) held last September 21-24, 2010 in Penang, Malaysia.
During said regional conference, Fr Victor Labao was elected as the new regional coordinator for East Asia of ICMA. Fr Vic is presently the national director of AOS- Philippines. SVBB is the legal counsel of AOS Philippines.
ICMA is a free association of 28 Christian not-for-profit organisations working for the welfare of seafarers. These 28 organisations represent various Christian churches and communities. Each member organisation retains its independence and autonomy. ICMA defines seafarers as people who work in merchant shipping, fishing and on passenger ships. Through its members, ICMA currently represents 526 seafarers’ centres and 927 chaplains in 126 countries.
The focus of the conference was self-care for chaplains and ministry to fishers. The conference was addressed by Dr Marion Gibson, respected academic and valued ICMA partner. Dr Gibson presented a course entitled “Looking after others by looking after ourselves”, accredited by Respond Training. Father Bruno Ciceri delivered a presentation on the development of the ILO Convention on working in the fishing industry. Rev la Grange presented an update on ICMA activity and ministries, highlighting the ICMA website and directory.
ICMA’s worldwide network of chaplains and seafarers’ centres and innumerable volunteers likewise joined the maritime industry to bring piracy to the world’s attention. They have contributed close to one million signatures to the on-line campaign (www.endpiracypetition.org) initiated by the ITF as they call on governments worldwide to take a stand to end the scourge of piracy, and its threat to seafarers.