A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) secured funding for a new set of educational materials for seafarers on environmental issues. Three guides, an instructor’s manual, and an online version of the information aims to equip those calling at the Port of New York and the Ports of Massachusetts with information on their rights while employed.
The guides offer a condensed, practical overview of some of the environmental laws that apply to seafarers. “Most seafarers behave honorably throughout the course of their employment,” notes the author of these materials. The environmental guides underscore the importance for all seafarers to understand the United States’ laws that govern pollution offenses and the consequences of violating those laws.
Douglas Stevenson, Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, believes that these guides sensitively address seafarers’ needs, examining the specific tasks seafarers perform. According to Stevenson, these materials demonstrate SCI’s commitment to seafarers, helping them make educated decisions with continued support when further questions arise.
The educational materials enlist seafarers’ assistance in the protection of the world’s marine environment. Noting their critical role, the author observes that as many as half a billion people draw their livelihoods from the sea in one way or another and its continued use depends on good stewardship.
SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights has completed work on the guides and online content and currently is developing the accompanying materials for instructors. SCI will distribute the materials through chaplains and ship visitors. When complete, these materials make available a new, clear and easily accessible set of guidelines for seafarers on environmental laws.