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About ICMA

The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) is a free association of 28 Christian not-for-profit organisations working for the welfare of seafarers.

These twenty-eight organisations represent various Christian churches and communities. Each member organisation retains its independence and autonomy. ICMA defines seafarers as people who work in merchant shipping, fishing and on passenger ships. Through its members, ICMA currently represents more than 450 seafarers’ centres and 900 chaplains in approximately 125 countries.

Origins of ICMA

ICMA was founded in 1969 to encourage ecumenical collaboration and mutual assistance among organisations. Such collaboration works at local level, in port, and at national and international level. In a fragmented and divided society, it is the mission of ICMA to promote unity, peace and tolerance. It is the duty of every ICMA chaplain and welfare worker to serve seafarers, fishers and their dependants regardless of nationality, religion, culture, gender or ethnic origin.

Objectives of ICMA

The objectives of ICMA are the promotion of the spiritual, social and material welfare of all seafarers and the relief of need, hardship and distress among them. This practice is reflected in a variety of different minsitries. Some work from seafarers’ centres, while others sail with seafarers on ships. ICMA members may work from international seafarers’ centres at which all seafarers are welcome. In addition, some ICMA members provide national centres which serve as the Church abroad for nationals of different professions. Meeting seafarers where they are, is important to ICMA. Therefore, ship visiting is almost always done, in every port where ICMA-members operate.

Legal status of ICMA

ICMA is registered as a Charity in England and Wales. ICMA’s charity number is 1003211. ICMA complies to the laws governing Unincorporated Associations. The ICMA Constitution (see below for a link to download the ICMA Constitution) is its governing document. Other basic documents provide guidance for good governance and procedures. These documents are available from the ICMA Secretariat upon request.