Nakhodka International Marine Club celebrates 60 years. In the Soviet times the club was considered as a means in the ideological fight against the imperialist advocacy. The club was the headquarters of the Nakhodka Office of the USSR-Japan and the USSR-PRC Friendship Societies, but when the Soviet Union was broken up, the Marine Centre became a municipal institution of culture. However, the club's key purpose is to set up a comfortable and home-like conditions for seafarers, whatever a political situation emerges in the country. Since its establishment, about 1,000,000 seafarers have visited the Centre.
The USSR Maritime and River Fleet Workers' Union was an author of idea to create the Nakhodka International Club of Seafarers. Nakhodka became an international port and there emerged a necessity of the Centre's foundation. The Japanese vessel Yoshinogawa-Maru was first foreign ship which was berthed at the Nakhodka Sea Commercial Port in 1946. For the first time in 12 years after the landmark event, the Interclub opened its doors for seafarers on November 3, 1958. 62 foreign vessels, including 55 under the Japanese flag, visited Nakhodka during the first year of its working and after ratification of a Commercial Agreement and also a Trade and Payment Agreement between the Soviet Union and Japan.
Initially the Interclub operated as the International Sector of the International Marine Club in Nakhodka and was placed in two rooms of the port's hostel. The Seafarers' Culture House came into service in 1959 and the Intersector was moved into the new building, where it got for the seafarers’ needs the first floor in the right wing of the building. Due to rise of foreign ships calling in Nakhodka, the Intersector was reorganized into the International Seafarers' Club and subsequently it got two floors at the Culture House.
Over 30 years the Interclub was the headquarters of the Nakhodka Office of the USSR-Japan Friendship Society and it became the head office of the USSR-PRC Society in 1984. Within 60 years hundreds of international meetings and receptions have been held here. The international seminars of young researchers from 29 countries, gathering on the matter of the peace and cooperation problems in the Pacific Ocean, were being the brightest events from 1974 to 1985. Also the Russia-Japan and Russia-US negotiations on cooperation and cultural ties of Nakhodka were as much as remarkable.
Before the collapse of the USSR, the Interclub was a sheltered institution, which was considered as a means of the ideological fight against the imperialist advocacy and was a mediator of the socialist regime ideas among foreign seafarers. Among the Nakhodka youth learning the foreign languages, only few made their way into the club's members through the Komsomol City Committee. But since 1990s the club opened its doors for all citizens and guests of Nakhodka.
The club was funded by the Marine Transport Workers' Union through the Social Insurance Funds until 1992. Due to the unions have been withdrawn from social insurance by the government, the subsides were stopped in 1992. The Nakhodka Interclub closing was on agenda and it could share the fate of all same organizations in Russia at the time.
Given the situation there was the silver bullet: to establish the Interclub-based municipal institution of culture and maintain its key activities, especially the cultural and supporting services for seafarers. Then the City Administration helped directly. According to the Resolution No.949 signed by the Nakhodka mayor, Victor Gnezdilov, the Interclub was reorganized in the municipal institution of culture called the International Marine Club on July 18, 1994. The new Charter of the club was registered in August, 1994 and the municipal fund started to finance its working.
The situation was seemingly the best, however, the unsolved problems remained. The fixed assets, equipment and transport were completely worn out and the facilities were required a major repair. The municipal budget wasn't able to pay these needs and only covered costs on personnel salaries and the utility services.
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) came to help. In 1995 the ITF provided a financial support of $600,000, thereby the club had an opportunity to significantly improve assets, to buy cars, to renew the playing and musical equipment. In 1999 the ITF Seafarers' Trust and its financial assistance made it possible to conduct a major repair and reconstruct the club's rooms and subsequently to enlarge its area. Today the club occupies three floors comprising of 900 square meters. There are a concert hall, a meeting room, a bar, a masters' room, gym and playing hall in the club. The club's activities on the seafarers’ welfare were highly appreciated at the international seminars in St. Petersburg in 1995, in Yalta in 1997, in Novorossiysk in 1999, in Helsinki in 2001 and in Odessa in 2002.
Creating for seafarers the comfortable and like-home conditions always remains the core target of the Interñlub. Nowadays they can use all modern communications, Internet, satellite TV and also to rest in a bar, to attend concerts, to read books and magazines, to play the games, to take a city tour with the support of the club's translators and so on.
The Port of Nakhodka has been visited by more 50,000 ships under 46 different flags since the club's establishment. Many crews have attended the club, among them are seafarers from Greece, Turkey, India, Poland, Germany, France, England, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Cuba, Canada, South and North America etc. 3,000 foreign seafarers and 12,000 Russian crews visit the club annually. Now different events are being held in the club, including City Administration meetings, seminars, meetings with deputies, receptions, conferences, presentations, negotiations, literary evenings, concerts of local creative teams.
The club's workers became the members of the Far Eastern Regional Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO) in 1998. The SUR's reps are the frequent guests here and they hold meetings with seafarers and help them to resolve problems. The International Marine Club became a member of the Nakhodka Transport Association in 1998. The club has close relationships with the shipowners and the maritime agencies.
“The club aims all efforts to improve a cultural service and welfare of crews visiting the Port of Nakhodka. This measure contributes to strengthening the global prestige of Nakhodka, Primorsky Krai and Russia, in general,” the club's director, Roman Ermakov, pointed out.