Monday 13 September 2021, 12:00pm - 17:00pm



Meeting the needs of seafarers in a digital age


As we look back over the past year, we know that it has been one of the most challenging for the industry in modern times. Often viewed as traditional and slow to innovate, the industry has fast tracked plans in technological solutions to respond to urgent needs. 

The pandemic severely impacted Crew Changes which brought seafarers’ welfare and wellbeing to the forefront of everyone’s minds, which is of course where they should be all along.  With port restrictions severely limiting port-based welfare, how did seafarers fare and did they turn more to technology for support during this time?  

The industry, with limited support from governments, resolved many of the issues over crew changes, although this still remains in a precarious situation.  As vaccinations became available a new situation on how and where to vaccinate this mobile work force further tested the industry. The ‘no jab no job’ resounded around the social media channels further worrying seafarers.

Alongside this, adaptations needed to be made to how seafarers’ training and welfare were delivered. The maritime charities stepped up to the plate and continued throughout these challenging times in helping seafarers both face-to-face and with new digital services.

We examine in this conference the welfare issues faced by seafarers during the pandemic, and whether the solutions were effective. We ask our panel experts what they foresee as lessons learnt for the future.

Each Panel will be Chaired by John Adams. Each Panel Speaker will join the panel.




Welcome: Andrew Wright, Secretary General | The Mission to Seafarers

13:35 Opening remarks from the Chairman

John Adams, Vice President of the International Chamber of Shipping 

Keynote: Dr Grahaeme Henderson OBE, Chair of Together in Safety

Seafarer wellbeing: working together as a global shipping Industry


(Panel 1)

Speaker: James Muir, Chief Commercial Officer, Ship Management | V Ships

How did companies respond to changing welfare needs during 2020, and which measures will they retain as best practice going forward?

Chairman - John Adams


  1. Catherine Spencer, CEO |  The Seafarers' Charity (panel chairman)
  2. James Muir | V Ships
  3. Scoutbase


(Panel 2)

Speaker: Mark O’Neil, CEO & President | Columbia Shipmanagement

Boosting mental health digitally.

Chairman - John Adams


  1. Andrew Wright | The Mission to Seafarers (panel chairman)
  2. Christian Ayerst | MHSS
  3. Mark O’Neil, CEO & President | Columbia Shipmanagement
15:25 Opening remarks from Chairman/John Adams

Nick Chubb, Founder and CEO | Thetius  

A fair future for seafarers? How will seafaring change in the coming decades and how should the welfare sector adapt to the change.


(Panel 3)

Speaker: Ronald Spithout - President | Inmarsat Maritime

What crew technology investment is needed to provide a better welfare provision, what are the obstacles, and how does this impact the bottom line?

Chairman - John Adams


  1. Sara Baade - CEO | Sailors' Society (panel chairman)
  2. Ronald Spithout - President | Inmarsat Maritime
  3. Kate Higginbottom | ITF


(Panel 4)

Speaker: David Gooberman, Principal Surveyor | Isle of Man Ship Registry

Technology in partnership to deliver seafarer services

Chairman - John Adams


  1. Martin Foley - CEO | Stella Maris (panel Chairman)
  2. Simon Grainge, CEO | ISWAN
  3. David Gooberman, Principal Surveyor | Isle of Man Ship Registry

Speakers & Panelists