The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is known for its belligerence. Yet, it has it soft, gentle and caring side – as we were reminded a few days ago when the union’s philanthropic arm, The ITF Seafarers’ Trust, announced its latest grants totaling £1,078,533 (USD1,711,685). Our readers may not believe in the Taoist yin-yang principle, but it’s operative in all of the universe, including the world of ships and seafarers. Here are the beneficiaries of the ITF’s largesse:

World Maritime University – £168,000 (USD266,624) to support five students from developing countries to attend courses on maritime administration, port operations and maritime law and policy

ICSW (International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare) – £422,533 (USD670,581), which covers financial assistance for welfare facilities for seafarers in South East Asia, including a new seafarers’ centre in Vietnam; the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2012; a seminar and research into ‘port levies’ for seafarers’ welfare worldwide. In addition, The Seafarers’ Trust is also sponsoring a full time post for one year for a project manager to backstop the ICSW’s work.

The International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) – £88,000 (USD139,660) for a study on occupational health, a handbook for medical practitioners treating seafarers, and towards a project with the European Space Agency on telemedicine (eHIRS)

The Chauncy Maples project, which is renovating a ship on Lake Malawi to provide medical services to isolated maritime and fishing communities – £120,000 (USD190,446), with focus on the prevention of HIV/AIDS

The Hub at Wallasey, a retired seafarers’ centre near Liverpool, England – £150,000 (USD238, 057) towards a new building

The North American Maritime Ministry Association – £130,000 (USD206,316) to recruit and support a full time director for two years

The ultimate beneficiaries of these grants are the seafarers. As The ITF Seafarers’ Trust has declared: “We aim to make seafarers healthier, less isolated, better represented and better connected with their loved ones and those that care for their welfare, at sea and in port.” It’s a goal we’d love to see pursued by more organisations. ~Barista Uno

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