Sailing through “pirate alley”

Douglas Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights at the Seamen’s Church Institute, is on board the Maersk Idaho and sailing through “Pirate Alley”, that is, the Gulf of Aiden. He departed Cairo on Sunday, August 2, and will arrive in Dubai on August 10th.

You may remember that the container ship Maersk Alabama was earlier attacked by pirates in that area and the ships captain, Richard Phillips, was held hostage for five days until the US Navy rescued him.

The Seamen’s Church Institute says:

Stevenson embarks on this journey for professional reasons. He wants to learn from the experiences of mariners who routinely sail through pirate-infested waters. The Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, the world’s only full-time, free legal aid program for merchant mariners, says that he also hopes to draw attention to the professional seafarers themselves and their work, which is vital to the world’s prosperity.

Observations will contribute to Stevenson’s understanding of merchant mariners’ perspectives and needs and add to a clinical study of piracy’s effects on merchant mariners and their families. This month SCI announced a multi-year study in conjunction with the Disaster Psychiatry Outreach at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. The first of its kind in the maritime industry, the study explores the clinical assessment and treatment of piracy attack survivors.

“SCI has a commitment to seafarers’ well-being,” says Stevenson. “We want to make sure that we understand what is happening to them so that we can offer them every support they need.”

The SCI was founded in 1834 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit 3,400 vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways. The SCI’s maritime attorneys are recognized as the nation’s leading advocates for merchant mariners in the United States.

Follow Douglas’ progress on Twitter here.

Past Posts