We gathered from across Canada and the US in Hamilton,ON.
The days were jam packed with thought provoking conversations and ideas,a time to regroup, rejuvenate, and share thoughts to focus on the future.
We had an inspirational speech from Ron Foxcroft an NBA referee and the inventor of the Fluke 40 whistle.
As well as touring the Welland Canal we heard from HOPA Ports (Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority) including CEO Ian Hamilton about the use of data optimization to make better decisions and improve supply chains. How the Great Lakes can help improve transportation in Ontario and beyond. The need to diversify cargo such as short sea connections within the Great Lakes like containers and diversify in hiring such as more women.
Tomi the Chief Operations Officer from Mission HQ in London spoke to us about the safety of volunteers, employees and seafarers and the importance of risk management as well as reiterating the values of MtS they being;
1.Pioneering- innovative thinking- to be flexible and entrepreneurial as the Mission's founder the Rev'd John Ashley was to be open to and embrace change. How we respond to what is next?
2.Inclusive- to serve all Seafarers without discrimination and learn and respond to what matters to them.
3.United- the Global Mission regions do things differently but we are united in serving Seafarers and their families.
4.Collaborative- partnerships e.g. ITF (International Transport Federation) as we can’t do the work of assisting seafarers alone.
5.Accountable-to be good stewards of our resources, sharing our stories and statistics.
6.Caring- compassion,integrity,respect. Stories of how we went out of our way for seafarers.
Tomi referred to good environmental stewardship with it mattering because seafarers come from nations that are disproportionately affected.
We also had a panel discussion with the ITF rep and a local Agent about seafarers welfare and the importance of working together to support seafarers.
The results of a study entitled “Navigating Mental Health at Sea” by Dr Shan and Hugo from Memorial University revealed that seafarers wish to have more mental health supports. The top reasons they discovered for which seafarers don’t get enough mental health support include that they say they prefer to manage mental health themselves, that they didn’t know where to get help, that they haven’t gotten around to it, that their job interfered, or that they had an inability to leave their ship. A seafarers’ welfare centre could potentially help share contact information or help destigmatize mental health supports.
We heard about trauma in the workplace and looked at definitions and the impact of anxiety, stress and depression on seafarers.
The MtS Regional Director in the Oceania and Pacific Region Lance Lukin spoke about those assisting seafarers being competent, knowing resources available to assist seafarers, knowing limitations and practicing self-care.
The camaraderie enabled us to learn from and support one another as did worshipping together and praying for the work we do, need to do and the seafarers.