More Hands on Deck for Piracy Study

Dec 16, 2011

by Michael Stuart Garfinkle, PhD, Clinical Researcher, Piracy Trauma Study

When the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) began its piracy trauma study two years ago, the maritime community voiced support to studying the best way to safeguard the welfare of seafarers, but no sense of a community existed to work toward this end. So much has changed favorably since then.

Last month, the Maritime Piracy - Humanitarian Response Program (MPHRP) released a good practice guide that addresses a whole range of issues related to the exigencies presented by the piracy threat. Headed by Mr. Peter Swift and advised by major partners in the maritime industry, as well as an advisory board that includes mental health, pastoral care and maritime professionals, this group represents an important force in advancing the cause of protecting the emotional well being of men and women at sea. Their guide, which complements SCI’s (Post-Piracy Care for Seafarers Guidelines v3.0) has already become an important resource for planning, assessing and caring for those who may be or have been affected by piracy. SCI commends them on their good work and looks forward to further collaboration.

Also newsworthy, Oceans Beyond Piracy, another important partner in the effort to reach out to those affected by piracy, released an important report on the impact of Somali piracy, available here.

Finally, SCI’s study on the psychological impact of piracy on seafarers will be formally presented at the annual meeting of the International Congress of Psychology in Cape Town, South Africa in late July 2012.

SCI continues to interview seafarers impacted by piracy to learn from their individual stories about what helped and hindered their recovery. Anyone wishing to share piracy experiences on a confidential basis should contact me by telephone at +1 212-349-9090 or by email at If you would like further information about these updates or our study, please contact me.