The International Seafarers' Welfare Awards 2014 are being launched today, as representatives from the global shipping industry gather in London for International Shipping Week.

For seafarers, welfare services and facilities can be a life line when working away from home for long periods of time, according to the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).

These awards recognize excellence in the provision of welfare services by shipping companies, welfare organizations, ports and individuals - on ship and on shore.

They showcase good practice in the industry, and highlight the commitment and dedication shown by many - in the service to seafarers.

With nominations now open, ISWAN said in a prepared statement: “We encourage seafarers to recognize those that have shown them exceptional service this year and nominate. The award categories are: Seafarers' Centre of the Year; Shipping Company of the Year; Port of the Year; and Welfare Personality of the Year.”

The winners of the 2012/13 International Seafarers' Welfare Awards were : Shipping Company of the Year : Shell Shipping; Port of the Year : Kandla (India); Seafarer Centre of the Year : Seafarers House, Port Everglades (USA); and Welfare Personality of the Year : Reverend Dennis Claughton (Australia) and Father Giacomo Martino (Italy).

The International Seafarers' Welfare Awards 2014 will be held at the International Labor Organisation in Geneva on 7 April 2014 and will be presented by Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO. The awards are organized by ISWAN and supported by the International Shipping Federation, International Transport Workers' Federation; International Christian Maritime Association; International Labor Organisation; the International Maritime Organisation; and Crewtoo.