Douglas B. Stevenson, Director, Center for Seafarers' Rights
I attended the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) West Africa Regional Conference in my capacity as ICMA Chairman, in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire from January 25-29.
ICMA representatives came from Côte d’Ivoire, the Republics of Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We shared worship, experiences in maritime ministry, and received training on a number of important seafarers’ ministry subjects. Some of the training included seafarers’ rights, an introduction to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006), helping piracy survivors, and responding to HIV/AIDS.
I was happy to spend time with my friend, Father Ed Gbe, at the conference. After graduating from SCI’s year-long chaplaincy program in 1997, Ed returned home to establish the Seamen’s Church Institute of Liberia. SCI provided start-up funding for SCI Liberia. Ed returned to us for advanced training in 2007 as part of his M.Div. program in seafarers’ ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary. Ed was elected by his conference peers to be the ICMA West Africa Regional Coordinator.