We seldom bother about maritime awards. They’re a dime a dozen – an ego-booster for those hungry for recognition and an image-booster for those bestowing the honor. The ICSW International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards, now on their second year, are different. The intent is different and so is the selection process. In our view, the awards are more meaningful than many others we see handed out each year like burgers and pancakes.

As the UK-based International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) puts it, the awards are a ‘public recognition of the hard work and long hours put in to make seafarers lives healthier and more comfortable and to support them in times of hardship.’ Last year’s winners under the three categories were Bernhard Schulte Management (Shipping Company of the Year); Singapore and Barcelona (tied for Port of the Year); and Rosenhill Seaman’s Centre, Gothenburg (Seaman’s Centre of the Year).

The ICSW awards are made more special by the fact that nominations come from the seamen themselves (online nomination forms are provided on the ICSW website). A shipping company, port or seafarer centre can only submit an awards entry after they have received a nomination from a seaman. Deadline for nominations is 9th September 2011. Winners will go on an all expenses paid trip to Geneva to receive their award at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the opening night of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) tripartite meeting on 12th December 2011.

A thumbs up for the ICSW folks. They’ve embarked on something wonderful. ~Barista Uno

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