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The Seafarers' Welfare in Chinese Ports Project (SWiC)

This research project aims to explore and examine the availability and adequacy of welfare provisions for ocean-going seafarers when their ships are calling at Chinese sea ports with particular attention placed to the seafarers’ perspective.

Final research report

SWiC Project research report

Project objectives

The project's objectives include:

  • To critically document and analyse how welfare services for seafarers are organised and operated for world seafarers (including those from China) and to evaluate their effectiveness.
  • To establish the most valued services that seafarer organisations and/or other players could provide in Chinese ports.
  • To help develop port-based welfare work in China from the perspective of seafarers.
  • To document the policies of the Chinese government, trade unions, shipping and ship management companies, crewing agencies and other key stakeholders on seafarers' welfare and their provisions.
  • To contribute to the development of best practice concerning provision of welfare services for seafarers by comparing the traditional ‘Western Model’ with the emerging new Chinese Model (to be discovered in this study).

Ports in China

The project is expected to increase knowledge and understanding about accessible welfare facilities and services for visiting seafarers, Chinese and other nationalities, in different types of ports in China. This knowledge will be harnessed to promote seafarers’ welfare and delivery of relevant services through consensus building among key stakeholders in the maritime sector.  

The research is carried out by the China Centre Maritime (CCM), Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Solent University, with funding from the ITF Seafarers Trust, and with endorsement of Nautilus International (NI), and support of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).

ITF logo                   Merchant Navy Welfare Board logo       

ISWAN logo                   Nautilus International logo

Views from industry

“Nautilus acknowledges the lack of up to date information on the availability and adequacy of welfare services for seafarers globally and endorses this project as a means of capturing that information in respect of China and Chinese ports….we are confident that the outcomes of this research project will have a long term positive impact on improving the lives of seafarers.”
Steven Gosling, Head of Strategic Development, Nautilus International

“As it stands, ‘western’ welfare providers (for seafarers) knowledge of seafarers access to shore based welfare facilities in Chinese ports appear to be extremely limited. To that end, the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) would be very interested in the outcome of your proposed independent, academic research study.”
Peter Tomlin MBE, Chief Executive, Merchant Navy Welfare Board

“This research project aims to promote and protect the rights of seafarers to welfare facilities and services in Chinese ports in accordance with the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006, through a systematic examination of the availability and adequacy of welfare provisions for visiting seafarers whose ships call on Chinese port cities.”
Minghua Zhao, Professor of Maritime Sociology, Solent University   

Media coverage

Ningbo Daily

ISWAN - International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network

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