TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –— The 11th World Conference of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) opened in Kaohsiung on Monday (Oct. 21) with a keynote address from Vice President Chen Chien-ren (陳建仁) and message of greeting from Pope Francis.
Pope Francis addressed the crowd via a pre-recorded message in which he expressed his best wishes for the success of the conference. Vice President Chen, on behalf of the Tsai administration, emphasized Taiwan’s support for the ICMA and its work across the globe.
The ICMA was founded in 1969 and is an association of 27 Christian groups committed to the welfare of seafarers and their families along with others involved in maritime-related industries. The organization holds an international conference every five years, and this year it is being held in Taiwan from Oct. 21-25.
Liberty Times reports that there are 230 representatives from over 40 countries in attendance at this year’s conference. The ICMA has expressed thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kaohsiung City Government, and the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan for their support in organizing the event.
In his two minute address, Pope Francis expressed his admiration for the ICMA and wished them a successful conference. He also emphasized his personal philosophy that people should strive to spread peace, joy, charity, and fraternity across the world.
Vice President Chen reiterated the Pope’s message and emphasized that Taiwan remains committed to the welfare and human rights of laborers in the country’s maritime industries, whether they be Taiwanese or foreigners. Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) attended on behalf of Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), and he thanked the ICMA for its work protecting fishermen in the region.