ICMA Members Cooperate to Produce a Bible for Seafarers


by Andy Dakin, NMBS and Rev. Nicolaj Wibe, Indenlandsk Sømandsmission

The Seafarer’s Tagalog-English Diglot New Testament and Psalms – The NMBS Story:

Since my first experience of ICMA, at the 2018 Malmo conference, it has been my aim to ensure that NMBS supplies the Christian resources that the ICMA ministries need.  At that time, I indicated that we were looking to update and improve the material we provided. 

Our initial programme included a suite of other language Bibles.  Primarily, Tagalog-English, Mandarin/English and Russian New Testament and Psalms. 

But first we needed to produce replacements for our Gift of God, You Are Not Alone and Away From Home booklets, these were produced in 2019, in English, Tagalog and Russian, and have since been popular with the seafaring ministries that engage with our gifted resources. 

By this time stocks of our Tagalog-English New Testament and Psalms were running low, and to test out the design and format of a replacement, a Tagalog-English Luke-Acts extract was produced to celebrate the ICMA World Conference in Taiwan in 2019.  The positive response from this initiative led to a ‘green light’ to proceed with a Seafarers Tagalog-English New Testament. 

As a gifting Society, that gratefully receives donations from individuals and granting organisations, finding funds for new initiatives can often take some time to accumulate. Our initial print run was enabled with funds from several sources, but the main enabler was a grant from the Danish Seaman’s Mission (Indenlandsk Sømandsmission). 

Like a lot of activities in 2020 the program was delayed by the pandemic, but in early 2021 the Bibles arrived.  On historic usage rates, this delivery should have lasted 4-5 years. But over the last couple of years, the demand for our resources has increased greatly and by 2022 a second print run was required.  

As this was unexpected, and funding was needed quickly, the Danish Seaman’s Mission stepped in again and generously funded the whole programme.  This print run arrived early in 2023 and planning starts for the next opportunity.

At the same time, we also produced a Mandarin-English New Testament and Psalms and a Ukrainian New Testament and Pslams, But that’s another story!

The Seafarer’s Tagalog-English Diglot New Testament and Psalms – The Indenlandsk Sømandsmission Story:

In the Danish Maritime Mission, we have a tradition of handing out many Bibles for free to seafarers. Some seafarers have forgotten their own Bible at home and others would like a new one.

Recently, a young sailor had a conversation with a chaplain, and when he was offered a free Bible, he declined as he had a different religious perspective than the Christian one. Full respect for that. Yet, the chaplain was allowed to leave some Bibles in the mess room as others in the crew might wish to have one.

After a few days at sea, the young man, who did not want a Bible, picked up a copy and took a look inside. And he has never regretted it. He came to read about the overwhelming love with which Jesus meets people. He came to read, understand and feel the text in such a way as to see that Jesus loved him. He was deeply touched. So touched, in fact, that the next time he came to Denmark, he went ashore and enrolled in a Christian Bible school to learn more about the Christian faith.

Our experience is that many seafarers are happy to have their own Bible because in it they find a message which is enriching and important for their lives. It is therefore a great pleasure for us to partner with the NMBS to provide a Tagalog/English Bible translation for seafarers. We believe and hope that as ICMA and NAMMA member organisations distribute these Bibles they can be a joy to the recipient and their families.

For more on the NMBS: https://nmbs.org.uk/

For more on the Indenlandsk Sømandsmission: https://somandsmissionen.dk/


NAMMA members receive a print copy of The MARE Report, NAMMA’s annual magazines for seafarer’s welfare professionals