Over the years, the Seamenâ€™s Church Institute has called for increased attention to the effects of piracy on merchant mariners. Phillipsâ€™ harrowing experience concentrated international focus on the scourge of piracy that plagues commercial shipping on waters around the globe. In 2008, at least 293 pirate attacks occurred worldwide.
The Seamenâ€™s Church Institute presents awards at the annual Silver Bell Awards Dinner to recognize the extraordinary commitment of an individual, company, or organization to merchant mariners and the issues facing the maritime industry. SCIâ€™s Awards Dinner welcomes over 1,000 tanker owners, shipping agents, and terminal owners/operators, representing over 100 of the top maritime companies.
SCI will honor other significant newsmakers from 2009 at its Dinner. The men and women operating NY Waterway ferries who rescued passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 crash-landed in mid-January will receive SCIâ€™s Lifesaving Award. SCIâ€™s prestigious Silver Bell Award goes to Alberto AlemÃ¡n Zubieta, the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, under whose leadership construction progresses to dramatically widen the much-used waterway.
About the Seamenâ€™s Church Institute
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church (though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners), The Seamenâ€™s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive marinersâ€™ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey and along 2,200 miles of Americaâ€™s inland waterways. SCIâ€™s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.