CSR-One-year-on-1080

News 23 Sep, 2021

Our Charity Partners - One year on

Chris South
Chris South
Senior Underwriter

In September 2020, West launched it’s long-term charity program and made commitments of financial support to three select charities (National Oceanography Centre, Sailors’ Society and Blue Marine). We worked closely with each of them to initiate activities and projects that would make a real difference and work towards our overall ESG objectives.

Over the last year, these charities have been undergoing and progressing these projects individually and have summarised just some of the highlights below. Our ambition is to continue building on these existing relationships with our key charity partners and also develop those with select local charities such as Feeding Hong Kong and Symplefsi, through our regional offices.


National Oceanography Centre

Last year, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) partnered with West P&I to develop a seagoing bursary programme. This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions the 2021 bursary had to be virtual, but we didn’t let that stop us creating a unique experience for our five recipients, joining from Ghana, Brazil and the UK. Students joined NOC scientists for a two-day workshop, enjoyed a bespoke 3D tour of NOC’s world class research ship, RSS Discovery and have now taken part in a 6-month mentoring programme with a NOC scientist in their specialist area.

Dr Ben Moat who led the workshops, commented, “Research at sea and supporting the education and training of scientists and engineers is at the core of our mission as a charity. Despite Covid-19 restrictions the 2021 programme has been a great success and I look forward to following the students journey as they continue to develop the careers in oceanography.’’

As part of the West P&I funding a 3D tour of NOC’s world class research ship, RSS Discovery was developed. The tour uses photographic imaging and 360° scanning technology to enable an immersive journey through the ship to get a feel for what life is like on board. You can enjoy this experience at: https://noc.ac.uk/facilities/ships/rrs-discovery/rrs-discovery-virtual-tour

RSS-Discovery

If you’d like to learn more about our 2022 Bursary please email WestPandIBursary@noc.ac.uk for more information. 

Sailors’ Society

The stresses of the pandemic have taken their toll on us all, with seafarers in particular experiencing many devastating challenges. With mental health support being needed now more than ever, Sailors’ Society is especially grateful to West P&I for generously committing to fund our Wellness at Sea programme for 10 years.

Since May 2020, we have delivered Wellness at Sea training to more than 3,000 seafarers, empowering them to look after their own and others’ well being across every area of their lives, giving them the best opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling seafaring career.

We also developed our free 27-week Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign in response to the pandemic last year, providing mental health and wellbeing information, advice and support to companies and their crews. It was so well-received that more than 50 organisations have signed up to the campaign in 2021, with thousands of seafarers, their families and shore staff benefitting.

West has also enabled us to produce a fantastic video to promote Wellness at Sea, featuring Torsten Holst Pedersen, COO of Seaspan Corporation, a company that’s been using Wellness at Sea to care for their staff for the past six years. Torsten highlights the benefits of the programme, including an increase in retention rates from 88 per cent to 96 per cent. The video features on our website and has been shared with the many organisations and participants signed up to our Awareness Campaign, as well as promoted online and via social media.


We’re proud of what we’ve achieved with West’s support, despite the challenges of the last year, and look forward to our continued partnership, helping to protect the future of our industry and the seafarers on whom it relies.

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Blue Marine

In May 2020, WEST donated £15,000 to Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) to initiate and support the development of a Management Plan for the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area (NIMPA)- Africa’s second largest marine reserve. With the support of WEST, BLUE and NNF have made strong progress in Namibia towards achieving this ambition.

Key achievements include:

February – April 2020: NNF conducted biological and ecological monitoring of the NIMPA and its spectacular wildlife. Surveys assessed endangered African penguin colonies, jellyfish outbreaks, sightings of the endemic Heaviside’s dolphin, cape fur seal diets and migratory seabird abundance.

June 2020: NNF met with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) working group in Lüderitz- who are responsible for management of the NIMPA. The group reviewed the previous draft Management Plan developed in 2009 and discussed the issues with the previously proposed management as well as reasons for its delayed implementation.

October 2020: NNF supported MFMR to review the NIMPA regulations and suggested changes in accordance with the current state of the islands within the NIMPA and the activities taking place in or around the NIMPA. A preliminary roadmap to improve management of the NIMPA was also developed.

November 2020: NNF’s marine coordinator established a crucial link with Ms Graca D’ Almeida, the Director of Resources Management in the Ministry of Fisheries who is the most senior government staff member overseeing management of NIMPA.

December 2020: A draft report detailing discussions held at the meeting in October was compiled by NNF and shared with the MFMR. The report describes the roles and responsibilities of the Government in the management of the NIMPA. This is currently being reviewed by a MFMR representative based in Lüderitz.

March 2021: NNF visited the coast to meet with other stakeholders including local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and universities. NNF were well received, and local NGOs agreed that they wanted to work collaboratively on marine conservation education and outreach work across Namibia.

Key challenges and next steps

The adequacy of the zoning of the NIMPA, its regulations and the current level of monitoring of the NIMPA and its wildlife remain challenges to progressing the management plan. Using funds from WEST, NFF will support the MFMR to set-up of a stakeholder working group to resolve conflicts between stakeholders. NNF and BLUE will work hard to address science gaps to ensure the area is zoned properly to conserve marine life. The process of revising the management plan and regulations will be led by MFMR and NNF will continue to support them throughout. BLUE and NNF will also be developing a marine education and outreach programme to ensure Namibian people remain engaged in the conservation of their coastline.


Namibian-Dolphins


Two Heaviside’s dolphins in the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area. This endemic species is only found within the Benguela ecosystem along the southwest coast of Africa.