Hunterlink’s dedication to the welfare of international seafarers was on display in front of some of the world’s biggest transport leaders in Western Australia last week.
Delegates gathered in Perth for the bi-annual Fair Practices Committee, a conference of union leaders that determines the forward direction of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
Hunterlink Recovery Services Manager Gavin Kelso was invited to give a brief presentation on the work of his organisation and he was very well received.
Kelso spoke about the organisation’s humble beginnings as a provider of housing and counseling to those struggling mainly with drug and alcohol addiction in the Hunter region, to today where the plan is to take the service global.
“The mental welfare of seafarers is often overlooked, as is the unique conditions those working in the industry face,” Kelso said.
“If a seafarer breaks a leg in an Australian port we are equipped to deal with that in terms of medical care, however if a seafarer finds himself confronted with suicidal thoughts, or addiction spiraling out of control, there’s nothing in the way of support.
“That’s where Hunterlink comes in as a first responder and we can either offer them direct counseling or refer them to an appropriate service provider with immediacy.
“International seafarers are also able to utilise our 24-hour helpline which offers them the chance to talk to someone in a confidential manner and not have to worry about their boss, or manning agent find out.”
So well received was his presentation some of the room’s most influential, including ITF President Paddy Crumlin and SIU Treasury-Secretary David Heindel, who both vocally praised Hunterlink’s efforts.