PEME News - ILO award special accolade to Dr. Suresh Idnani

  • Date: 20/12/2011

Global Shipping Community honours Dr. Suresh Idnani at ILO - Geneva for

“Outstanding Service to Seafarers’ Welfare”

12th December 2011, Geneva

The winners of the 2011 International Seafarers' Welfare Awards were announced last night during a high profile ceremony at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva. The ceremony, which took place on the opening night of the Maritime Labour Convention tripartite meeting, was hosted by Mr Michael Grey, ex Editor of Lloyds List and attended by a number of key figures in the industry, including Mr Arthur Bowring, Managing Director, Hong Kong Ship Owners Association and Mr David Cockroft, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation.

The winners are: 

  • Judge's Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers' Welfare: Dr Suresh Idnani, India 
  • Port of the Year: The Port of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Seafarer Centre of the Year: Duckdalben International Seamen's Club, Hamburg
  • Shipping Company of the Year: Wilhelmsen Ship Management, Norway & Malaysia
  • Welfare Personalities of the Year: Reverend Peter Ellis of Hong Kong and Mrs Paddy Percival of Durban

Commenting on the evening Roger Harris, ICSW Executive Director, said: "Tonight has been a real celebration of not just the winners but all those who are committed to the welfare of seafarers. Sadly the welfare of seafarers continues to bottom of the list of priorities for some companies and ports so it is important that we come together to celebrate the work that is setting the standards that others can aspire to. I would like to congratulate our winners, thank the ILO for hosting us and all of our sponsors for their financial support but most of all I would like to thank all of the seafarers from around the world who continue to work in challenging environments to keep the global economy moving."

Keith Parsons, Group HR Director at V Ships, the sponsors of the awards ceremony added: "It is important that the vital role played by officers and ratings is given the recognition it deserves. This is particularly true given that this profession is subjected to the ongoing threat of piracy at a time when the shipping industry is under increasing pressure to perform. The success of V Ships could never have been achieved without the enormous contribution of the seafarers who keep our managed fleet operational 24/7. We recognise that many seafarers, support organisations and shipping companies go that 'extra mile' on a regular basis and we are pleased to be able to be part of this celebration."

David Cockroft, Secretary of the ITF Seafarers' Trust, who also sponsored the awards, said "we are committed to improving conditions for seafarers, both in terms of their welfare through the Seafarers' Trust and in their living and working conditions through the ITF. We have long supported seafarer centres and the excellent work they do, but this initiative to recognise employers and ports for their contribution to seafarers' welfare is new. The shortlisted applicants for these awards were all very impressive, and we would like to see all employers and ports reach these standards of care. Holding this ceremony in the ILO, with implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention very close, is a reminder of the importance of the work all of us are engaged in to provide a safer, healthier and better environment for seafarers."

This year's judges were Mr Spyros M Polemis, President of the International Shipping Federation, Mr David Cockcroft, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation, Mr Michael Grey MBE, the distinguished maritime journalist & ex-editor of Lloyds List and Mr Douglas Stevenson, Chairman of the International Christian Maritime Association.

Other supporters of this year's awards include InterManager, International Shipping Federation, TeeKay Shipping, the ITF Seafarers' Trust, the International Maritime Organisation, International Labour Organisation, the International Shipping Federation, the International Transport Workers' Federation and the International Christian Maritime Association.

This year the judges have decided to present a Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers’ Welfare to Dr. Suresh Narain Idnani.

Dr. Idnanis’ career spans three decades of practical experience and training in the areas of seafarers’ health and welfare. He was elected the President of the International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) for a second term and is responsible for developing international relations for the Association. With the IMHA team, he is also working to develop a quality assurance accreditation scheme in maritime health. For four years he ran the South Asia Programme of the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare.

A colleague said of him “He took up this somewhat thankless task in South Asia at a time when few people were aware of the importance of the issue [of seafarers’ welfare]. As a result of his continuous follow up, efficient delivery systems for seafarers’ welfare were established all over the region. More than ten port welfare committees now function in India, the Colombo Port of Sri Lanka leads the way in Welfare matters and countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan are now on the Welfare map.”

Dr. Idnani is a trained and certified ship visitor from the Nautical Institute. He was a workshop leader at the Lloyds Conference in Manila in Nov 2006. In 2009, he organized the 10th International Symposium on Maritime Health (ISMH10) in Goa India, which addressed important issues in seafarers’ welfare and health including the Global Partnership on HIV and Seafarers along with the ILO, IOM, ITF, ISF and UNAIDS. He is also assisting with the implementation of the ILO MLC 2006; and more recently, with the 2010 IMO STCW revision on matters relating to seafarers’ health and welfare.

He holds academic positions with the University of Tarragona in Spain, Lloyd’s Maritime Academy and the National Sea Training Centre.  He has written a chapter on seafarers’ welfare in a textbook on maritime medicine.

Dr. Suresh Idnani, winner of the Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers’ Welfare Said:

Thank you for honouring me with this most special Award. I would also like to thank the ICSW, the IMHA, the ITF, the ISF, the ILO and the IMO. I accept this great honour with humility.

I have an abiding faith in seafarers and a great belief in the seafaring industry. After three decades of working in maritime medicine, the well-being of seafarers, their good health and welfare, and the welfare of their families remains my driving passion. The lure of the sea and the endurance of its men and women continue to inspire me every day. But this is not the end of our voyage. If anything, it’s the beginning. Everywhere, our culture is fragmenting. Much still needs to be done, especially, in the key areas of work stress, piracy, ship-visiting, counseling and maritime education. None of us should rest our laurels.

Finally I would like to thank my beloved family, my wife Corinne and my two sons Nikhil and Varun. They are the strength behind my dreams and the wind beneath my sails.

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