Judges Special Award 2014

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Apinya Tajit

The judges decided to present a Special Award for Outstanding Services to Seafarers' Welfare to Ms Apinya Tajit, Deputy Director of Stella Maris Seafarer Centre, Sriracha Thailand.
Apinya Tajit began providing assistance to seafarers as a volunteer for Stella Maris. Over the past seven years she has touched the lives of many seafarers and their families as she takes time to offer emotional support, and uses her ever growing knowledge of the area to find solutions to practical problems that seafarers face every day. Apinya continues to work closely with AOS, ISWAN, MPHRP and the ITF, as well as government officials in Thailand, to make long term improvements to seafarers' welfare.

Apinya Tajit began providing assistance to seafarers as a volunteer for Stella Maris. Over the past seven years she has touched the lives of many seafarers and their families as she takes time to offer emotional support, and uses her ever growing knowledge of the area to find solutions to practical problems that seafarers face every day. Apinya continues to work closely with AOS, ISWAN, MPHRP and the ITF, as well as government officials in Thailand, to make long term improvements to seafarers' welfare.


Determined to make positive changes to seafarers' working conditions, Apinya completed training courses offered by ICSW, ICMA and AOS. She started to participate in various campaigns immediately, delivering heart-warming speeches about seafarers' welfare for the ITF. By 2009 she began to handle cases of seafarer abandonment with notable successes. In 2011, Apinya became heavily involved in advocacy work across East Asia as she grew increasingly concerned about the dangers of piracy faced by seafarers. Alongside this, Apinya offers after care for seafarers who have experienced time in captivity and also ensures families are supported emotionally. Apinya approaches each case with sensitivity and care, making best possible use of the ICMA counselling training she has received.
Apinya feels passionately about finding ways to prevent many of the issues experienced by seafarers, so she has taken the lead on a number of projects. One recent example is the HIV awareness project where she is working hard to incorporate teaching about HIV into the curriculum at maritime colleges in Thailand. She is simultaneously promoting awareness about HIV and STIs to seafarers visiting Stella Maris and on board ships as a trained ship visitor.


Apinya's day to day work is just as valuable as her involvement in projects. Many seafarers refer to her as 'mum' because of her compassion and ability to connect families. Apinya works long days and manages to balance a heavy workload while still making time to care for each seafarer visiting the seafarer centre. Her warm and personable nature has helped her to build a huge network within the global maritime community, as well as her effective use of social media. Although she is modest in her approach, the impact of her work is too great to go unnoticed.

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