Blog

"Revolutionising chaplaincy service delivery."


Christmas has been and gone and with it the excitement of holidays, family time, travelling, gifts, eating and partying. Readers of this blog, I am sure, will know just how much we rely on seaborne transportation for almost everything associated with the festive season; our energy and fuel, food, toys, champagne and all the rest of it. Needless to say, the tens of thousands of ships are manned at any one time by hundreds of thousands of seafarers employed from every corner of the planet.

Sailors’ Society chaplains and ship visitors based in ports throughout the world made more than 22,000 ship visits in 2017, routinely supporting seafarers to communicate with loved ones and helping them access shore-based services. During traditional periods of celebration, including Christmas, this inevitably becomes significantly more important to many. Although Christian in origin and tradition, Sailors’ Society remains open to all, with no preference or priority given to any particular belief or faith.

In support of their work Sailors’ Society have developed an App to offer chaplains and other similar welfare providers with a system to enhance their programmes. Since its launch, it has been made available to all other organisations and renamed as the Ship Visitor-ICMA App.

The App has more than 330 users and is revolutionising chaplaincy service delivery.

As well as enabling welfare organisations to track their activity and record the levels of assistance provided, the Ship Visitor-ICMA App has more powerful and valuable benefits, in particular, how continued assistance can be provided on a port-by-port basis.

Since inception there have been many examples where seafarers in need or distress have been able to obtain assistance in one port, then with the knowledge of the next destination similar help has been arranged as a follow up.

Jon after completing the Brixton 10k
Jon after completing the Brixton 10k

As far as my training has been going, the last couple of months can only be described as something of a disaster. Tweaking a dormant back problem laid me up for several days in early November leaving light exercise the only option for a few weeks. Trips to the doctor and some physiotherapy provided some options for strength training and a gradual reintroduction to longer distance running, but it was well into December before I was approaching 10k runs.

This served as a reminder that the challenge of a marathon to the previously uninitiated requires care and attention, something that I believed I had in hand; a message now reinforced. My goals remain basically the same, but I’ve taken the opportunity to review my training plan and incorporate the additional strengthening activity.

Only three months to go and it’s sometimes tough to fit everything, not to mention to stay in one piece, but it’s a small price to pay!

Jon Holloway is managing director at L&R Midland (UK) Ltd. He was an engineer cadet with BP Shipping, sailing with them up to the rank of chief engineer before he came ashore in 2001. He has worked in various shipping roles for BP Shipping, INTERTANKO and BG Group before taking on his current position.

He has been an ambassador for Sailors’ Society since 2007 and became a Sailors’ Society trustee in 2014.

Jon's running the London Marathon in aid of Sailors' Society and you can help him hit his target by clicking the button below.