Please call (212) 677-4800 ext. 7219, if you need a chaplain to visit your ship or send us an email. If possible, contact us as early as you can so we can plan accordingly.
We offer social assistance and resources for seafarers and immigrants in conjunction with the Hunter School of Social Work.
of world trade transported by shipping industry
Seafarers visited in 2021 with COVID-19 restrictions
(18,353 in 2019)
Merchant ships boarded in 2021 (1,894 in 2019)
Mariners transported in 2021, including 202 to vaccination sites
(10,114 in 2019)
We live in a global village. The international shipping industry is responsible for the transport of around 90% of world trade. It is said that without seafarers, half the world would starve and the other half would freeze.
Over 50,000 merchant ships are trading internationally, transporting everything from bananas to cars. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations, and manned by over a million seafarers of almost every nationality. Generally, these mariners have contracts for ten months or more with modest salaries and few benefits. For those long periods, the seafarer works in virtual isolation in the middle of the ocean facing risks of piracy, abusive employers and co-workers, depression, and accidents.
Time in ports is short ranging from a few hours to three days depending on the cargo. In a US port, a foreign seafarer will be regarded as a national security threat and is often denied shore leave. Seafarers International House Port Chaplains and volunteers assist mariners by providing WiFi hotspots to connect them to their families and friends, and for those that are able to leave the ship they offer transport to family members, medical assistance, or shopping malls. More importantly, Seafarers International House staff spend time to lend an ear, offer council, meet spiritual needs, and advocate on behalf of seafarers regardless of faith or nationality.
Our port chaplains call on ships arriving into ports along the eastern seaboard in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Baltimore. Meet them below:
RESOURCES FOR LUTHERAN PORT MINISTRY
Tagalog devotional “Tubig Salita” (Water Words by the Rev. Robin Dale Mattison and translated by the Rev. Teresita Valeriano) is a resource for Filipino seafarers sponsored by the ELCA’s Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries and shepherded by the former Lutheran Advocates for Maritime Ministry. Copies are free and we ask you to help with postage.
For more information contact Pastor Marsh Drege.