MARITIME charities and industry stakeholders are gearing up for the Seafarers Welfare Conference 2024, an event which aims to tackle pressing issues around seafarers’ rights.

This year’s conference will take place in Fremantle, Western Australia from 15 to 18 July.

The event is structured around four focus areas: legal protection at sea; social justice and mental health; fair labour practices and economic security; and technology, innovation and welfare.

Discussions around legal protection will focus on international maritime laws and conventions, while talks around fair labour practices and economic security aim to address issues of debt bondage, wage theft and exploitation.

Other topics coming into focus are “flags of convenience”, bullying and harassment, and diversity in maritime.

The agenda so far includes presentations from ITF Australian Inspectorate co-ordinator Ian Bray, AMSA vessel operations manager Michelle Grech, and Mission to Seafarers London program manager Ben Bailey.

“Seafarers are the backbone of the maritime sector, facilitating international trade and transportation,” Mission to Seafarers said.

“However, they often confront numerous challenges, including social isolation, exploitation, and inadequate legal protection.

“The conference aims to spotlight these issues and underscore the vital intersection of justice and welfare in ensuring the comprehensive empowerment of seafarers worldwide.”

The conference is open to representatives from regulatory bodies, industry associations, port authorities and welfare organisations, to support a comprehensive dialogue on seafarers’ welfare issues.

Sessions will be held at the MtS Fremantle centre and the nearby Esplanade Hotel, with additional activities such as trips to the Bunbury mission centre and Rottnest Island, an Australia Seafarers Welfare Council meeting, and a critical incident stress management course.

MtS has also announced opportunities for various levels of sponsorship: platinum sponsorship status is $20,000, gold sponsorship is $15,000, silver sponsorship $10,000 and bronze $5000.

Event-specific sponsorships are also available for the opening night, day-trip to Rottnest Island and lunch in Bunbury.

For more information, head to the MtS conference webpage or contact regional director Sue Dight.