Humanitarian support of seafarers and their families in cases of armed robbery and piracy attack.
“Piracy and armed robbery continue to threaten the international shipping community. Despite diplomatic,
military and other initiatives by governments and their agencies, and protective measures and other actions
adopted by shipping companies, ships are still attacked and seafarers put at risk as they go about their
While acknowledging the actions of governments, the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization,
and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, it is recognised that more needs to be done to support seafarers and their families. Over 5,700 seafarers have been taken hostage in various incidents globally since 2007. In some cases the seafarers have been subject to prolonged captivity.
Every day more than 100,000 seafarers experience anxiety while sailing in, or towards, dangerous waters. Their families share these worries too, often with a feeling of helplessness.
Appropriate preparation provides benefits, increasing the resilience of seafarers exposed to incidents of piracy and armed robbery, and informing a correct awareness of the situation for seafarers and their families. Although piracy is defined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as distinct from armed robbery, for the purposes of this guide the term ‘piracy’ is used throughout.”
Rev J.D. [Boet] van Schalkwyk, CEO and Principal of the Sailors’ Society of South Africa, was recently awarded the South African Gold Medal of Merit of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem at a ceremony in Cape Town.
Awarded for meritorious service to the Grand Bailiwick of South Africa, Rev Van Schalkwyk is one of only two persons in South Africa who hold this honour.
Rev Van Schalkwyk has been a member of the Order of St Lazarus for over thirty years, having been admitted to the Order as Assistant Chaplain in February 1983 and promoted to full Chaplain in March 1988.
He has had a long and distinguished career as the Air Force Chaplain, a Port chaplain and as a Presbyterian Church minister in the then Northern Transvaal, East London and Pretoria. This has included stints as the Moderator of these Presbyteries..
Since 2002, he has held the position of Principal Chaplain, National Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the International Sailors’ Society, Southern Africa. On many occasions he has been called upon to take a lead in assisting those without the privileges so many take for granted. A few of these initiatives – amongst others – have seen Rev Van Schalkwyk working with the SACC amongst the refugees of East Mpumalanga informal settlements [1984-88], the peace initiative in the former Ciskei, or assisting the trauma victims of pirates off the East African coast.
He also established and co-ordinated the Sub-Saharan Crisis Network, and has worked, more recently, in Nigeria, Mozambique and Algeria.
At the award ceremony, the Grand Bailiff said “It is clear that you are a deeply caring, compassionate and organised leader who cares deeply for his fellow man. Our warm congratulations to you on this award. “
[The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem was founded as a Hospitaller Order in 370AD and as a Military Order in 1098. The military order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem originated in a leper hospital. Now the Order focuses upon serving and on people who have served humanity in meritorious ways.]
We congratulate Paul and Jessie who gave a wonderful and vibrant presentation to the Presbyterian Church in Amanzimtoti. It was a polished performance and enjoyed by those who attended.
This occasion was held to mark the Presidential Citation to the Church for their ongoing support of the Sailors’ Society SA. Board Chairman, Mr Fred Powley accepted the citation on behalf of the Amanzimtoti Church.
Sailors’ Society Chaplain, Jessie John also did ship visiting having called on the MSC CLAUDIA and MSC REGULUS where she met Melanie [right] who is a steward from Madagascar who has been working on ships for 22 years and enjoys her work very much.
Jessie gave Melanie a ‘wife’s present” and before she left, prayed with her. Melanie was especially delighted to talk to Jessie as she had previously met Fify Ravaoharisoa the Sailors’ Society Chaplain in Madagscar and has been blessed by the chaplain’s services to seafarers
Paul and Jessie boarded the vessel MAERSK SELETAR and met Dutch Captain Douwe and his wife Lucy who also received a ‘wife’s present” courtesy Sailors’ Society. [left]
Chaplains, your visits are so appreciated as you bring joy and comfort to seafarers who are far away from home and family.