The Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) has appointed Captain Kuba Szymanski as the new Chair of the board of the 200-year-old UK maritime charity, following the retirement of Peter McEwen MBE MNM. Capt. Szymanski is Secretary-General for InterManager, the international trade association for the ship and crew management sector and has a well-deserved reputation for advocating for seafarers – often bringing his personal experience as a merchant navy officer into play.
“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to join the Seafarers Hospital Society, one of the oldest maritime charities in the UK,” Capt. Szymanski said. “I will be part of a highly motivated team who have been working for many years on behalf of seafarers. I am looking forward to this new challenge, which sits alongside my current role with InterManager, and hope to bring to it my knowledge of ship management and experience within the philanthropic sector.”
Capt. Szymanski will join the Society in May 2022, following the retirement of current SHS Chair Peter McEwen MBE MNM. Peter McEwan was elected to the role in 2010 and has led the Society through a period of development, including a response to Covid-19 and the marking of the 200th anniversary of the Society.
Deputy Chair of SHS Sandy Nairne said, “Although we are sorry to say good-bye to Peter McEwen after such a positive period of chairmanship, we are very pleased to welcome Capt. Szymanski to the Society. As the Society expands from the provision of healthcare and advice services to seafarers and fishers to preventative measures that ensure better conditions throughout the industry, his in-depth industry knowledge and guidance will be invaluable and make him an excellent choice for this role.”
The InterManager Secretary-General brings over three decades of experience in the maritime sector, including the production of international shipping industry Key Performance Indicators (KPI). He currently chairs the association’s Human Element Industry Group (HEIG) Enclosed Space Committee.
Welcoming this new appointment as Chair, SHS CEO Sandra Welch said, “I look forward to working closely with Captain Szymanski as our new Chair. His wealth of experience and in-depth work on the Save Our Seafarers campaign and the Martha Project (which focused on seafarer fatigue at sea) are vital interventions in the current health and welfare issues affecting seafarers at this time. These align with our own work at the Society to ensure that we meet the health, welfare and advice needs of seafarers and fishers of any nationality based in the United Kingdom. I am confident that together we will continue the valuable work that we developed with Peter McEwen’s astute guidance.”
With McEwen at the helm over the past decade, SHS expanded on new initiatives for the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and has overseen successful Society projects and collaborations. These include the provision of free, fair and impartial advice through the Seafarers Advice & Information Line (SAIL), co-funded with The Seafarers Charity and Greenwich Hospital, funding online counselling services via Togetherall, and the SeaFit Project with The Fishermen’s Mission.