Great Podcasts for those in Seafarers’ Welfare 2024

by Dr. Jason Zuidema, NAMMA/ICMA

I love a good podcast. In 2020 and 2022, I put out lists of recent podcasts that were insightful and encouraging for those in seafarers’ welfare. A new list this year is not exhaustive, but a selection of episodes that can be useful. Thank you to the many different producers and presenters who make listening enjoyable.

Coffee with a Port Chaplain

New England Seafarers Mission (NESM) is an agent of grace that serves the international seafarers of the maritime business community. During a coffee break, the host sits with Rev. Stephen Cushing, the Port Chaplain of NESM, to hear about the work of advocacy, companionship, support, and prayer given to the often forgotten people at sea, the seafarers. All the episodes are great, but check out episode 11, The Sound of NESM, that lets you hear what seafarers’ ministry sounds like.

BBC Sounds – The Food Chain – “Hungry at Sea”

Over two million people work in the international shipping trade, and they are often at sea for months at a time. That’s a lot of meals being made by the cook on board, and their work is crucial for keeping the crew happy. Ruth Alexander hears from seafarers about why that makes “cookie” the most important person on board a ship and why, in some cases, crew members are going hungry. A former captain of merchant vessels tells us how food is used for so-called “facilitation payments” to corrupt officials, and why crews can sometimes be powerless to stop port officials filling up suitcases with food from the ship’s stores. We also hear about international efforts to try to tackle corruption in ports and increase welfare standards for seafarers.

The Last Dinosaur PodcastEpisode 71: Linking the Seas: Satellite Innovation in Maritime with Chris Watson” – In this episode, host Chris Aversano delves into the dynamic realm of maritime connectivity with our distinguished guest, Chris Watson, from KVH Industries, a global leader in mobile connectivity solutions. As we explore the ongoing evolution of satellite telecommunications, notably with new entrants like Starlink, we discuss the profound impacts on maritime operations from operational efficiencies to crew welfare. Join us to uncover how cutting-edge technologies are transforming connectivity at sea.

Human Rights in Business – “Working in a warzone: what risks do seafarers face?” In this episode, IHRB’s Francesca Fairbairn talks to John Attenborough from Mission to Seafarers and Ian Ralby, an expert in maritime law, about the safety and security of seafarers during times of conflict. Listen for accounts from seafarers caught in attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea; insights into the complexities of maritime law that can leave seafarers vulnerable; and how shipping companies’ response to attacks on their ships and crew has evolved over the years.

Shipping Podcast – “Seafarers – the unsung heroes” Imagine being held hostage onboard a ship, which is your workplace, for seven months! Chirag Bahri is now the International Operations Manager at the International Seafarers’ Welfare & Assistance Network, ISWAN, but he knows the feeling and is willing to share. Picture the fear, the willingness to obey, and the uncertainty that permeates the ship. The team’s dynamics, once a cohesive unit, now shift dramatically. How will it all unfold? This is the gripping story of Chirag Bahri’s hostage experience. Listen to Chirag Bahri; he has a story to tell. This episode is a collaboration between Shipping Podcast and Sailor Today.

Übers Meer“Über die Menschen auf den Meeren: Matthias Ristau und Dirk Obermann von der Deutschen Seemannsmission” [in German] Listening to seafarers, addressing their needs, providing accommodation, strengthening their community, establishing contact with their families, making them visible in our society, maintaining or restoring their dignity: the people of the German Seamen’s Mission are responsible for all this and so much more. Nikolaus Gelpke talks to two of them, Matthias Ristau, pastor and general secretary, and Dirk Obermann, deacon and responsible for psychosocial emergency care, in this new episode of the mare podcast.

Sea Views – “Shipping A Global Perspective” This podcast by CHIRP with funding from The Seafarers’ Charity talks with thought provoking experts and experienced practitioners in maritime. Every guest brings their own perspective on how to bring about change so that all seafarers will benefit from a safer and better life at sea. This episode is a conversation with Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping and covers a fascinating range of current and future issues from recruitment challenges, to piracy and security and the criminalisation of the seafarer.

Catholic News Podcast “Port Chaplain on the joys and challenges of supporting Seafarers and Fishers” Ahead of Sea Sunday 2024, the day we come together to pray for seafarers and fishers to thank them for the vital role they play in all of our lives, the podcast spoke to Deacon Nick O’Neill, the Senior Area Port Chaplain for the South of England and Wales for Catholic charity Stella Maris. In this Catholic News podcast, Deacon Nick discusses the joys and challenges of his job supporting seafarers with host Fionn Shiner.


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