The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) was honored to host International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim to its Port Newark International Seafarers’ Center on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Secretary-General Lim, accompanied by Fred Kenney, Director, Legal and External Affairs for the IMO (and former Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel of the United States Coast Guard), toured SCI’s state-of-the-art seafarers’ center and met with SCI leadership to discuss international seafarer welfare.
SCI has partnered with the IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, through the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) for many years. The Institute’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, the world’s only free legal aid program for merchant mariners, has offered a barometer of working conditions for thousands of international seafarers. SCI’s experience and data inform international leaders crafting standards for maritime shipping operations. Mr. Lim discussed at length the unique mission of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights and its connection to the IMO.
The IMO Secretary-General recalled his early days as a seafarer, including warm receptions at seafarers’ centers around the world. SCI leadership shared how they use encounters at these centers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of mariners, including the operation of a training program for American inland mariners at SCI’s Center for Maritime Education.
Mr. Lim expressed curiosity about SCI’s fundraising efforts to sustain its work, allowing trustees to share the challenges of their volunteer efforts. SCI leadership discussed with Mr. Lim the support received from several industry stakeholders and the need for more partnerships. SCI’s Chairman, Richard T. du Moulin, and SCI’s President & Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, thanked Mr. Lim for his visit and deep commitment to seafarer welfare around the world.