ACL, Seatruck, Stena and P&O have all agreed to fund the levy, which has the backing of Peel Ports, but other lines are reluctant, according to the Liverpool Seafarers Centre. Tony McDonough reports
A charity that offers welfare support to seafarers is urging more shipping lines that use the Mersey to contribute to a new levy.
With the agreement of Port of Liverpool operator, Peel Ports, the Liverpool Seafarers Centre (LSC), introduced a voluntary levy in October 2017 in line with the recommendations of the Maritime Labour Convention, MLC 2006.
How much shipping lines pay is calculated by gross tonnage and companies such as ACL, Seatruck, Stena and P&O have all agreed to fund the levy.
However, the chief executive of the LSC, John Wilson, says he is “disappointed” that a number of shipping lines had indicated their unwillingness to take part in the scheme, which has been successfully implemented at other ports around the world.
“It is very disappointing that some shipping lines are failing to provide a small contribution to help fund the vital work our centres do – to support their crew members,” he said.
“Yes, the levy is voluntary but the work we undertake is frequently doing the shipping lines a big favour especially when we are supporting a seafarer dealing with a major life event.
“For example, we often step in to help if there is a family bereavement, trauma, marriage, divorce or birth of a child. We can act as a go-between and can talk to the ship management company if there are problems to ensure the seafarer is being properly cared for.
“Seafaring can be a lonely and isolating job and crew frequently do not have people to talk to. We provide that helping hand and ensure that the Port of Liverpool and the maritime industry on Merseyside maintains its reputation as a friendly caring port.
“It is not much to ask for the shipping lines to find a small contribution to help care for their crews.”
LSC runs two centres on Merseyside, its headquarters at Colonsay House in Crosby and its new Eastham Hub on the Manchester Ship Canal which opened in 2017.
Mr Wilson said the centres provide “lifeline” to seafarers, offering a safe and secure place to rest and also receive practical and emotional support.