The following is the text of a news release from Seafarers' House:
(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — The life of a sailor has been romanticized in books, movies and even songs. But in reality, living on the high seas is anything but romantic. There are long days filled with difficult and dangerous work and months away from family and friends. Yet, few people realize what an important role seafarers play in the world’s economy.
Each year, more than 12 billion tons of goods are shipped by 1.5 million seafarers worldwide. Without these hard working men and women, the bulk transportation of important raw materials, food, medicine and manufactured goods (about 90 percent) would not be possible. That’s why each year on June 25 we celebrate the International Day of the Seafarer.
Because the Day of the Seafarer lands on a Saturday this year, Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades will be celebrating on June 24 with the help of students from Broward College’s Global Supply Chain Management School, Crowley Latin American Services LLC, the Seafarers’ International Union (SIU) Fort Lauderdale chapter, and representatives of area maritime-friendly congregations.
This year’s theme is “At Sea for All” emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of us — and, consequently, they are also "indispensable to the world.”
“Port Everglades, where Seafarers’ House is based, is one of the leading container ports in Florida. It is a gateway for international trade and has consistently ranked among the top three busiest cruise ports in the world,” said Seafarers’ House Executive Director Lesley Warrick. “Our mission is to ensure that the people who work aboard these ships, as well as the port community, have a safe place to go when they are in need of spiritual and emotional support, or simply want to stop in to use our free WiFi to connect with loved ones.”
Students from Broward College will begin Seafarers’ House celebration with a tour of the containership M/V Rothorn led by Edward Corrigan, director of port operations for Crowley Maritime Corp. The group will return for lunch, at which time Seafarers’ House will kick off its annual Shoebox Christmas program.
“Each year Seafarers’ House delivers upwards of 1,500 shoe boxes filled with everything from socks and work gloves to toothpaste and shaving cream, all of it donated,” said the Rev. Ron Perkins, Seafarers’ House chaplain who organizes the event. “Bringing holiday cheer to mariners working aboard ships and away from home during the holidays is just one of the ways the community can thank these mariners for their hard work and dedication.”
Broward College students will meet on Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m. at Seafarers’ House Casa (1800 S.E. 32nd St. Port Everglades) and begin their morning with a tour of the Crowley ship, to be followed by a tour of Seafarers’ House campus.
The Day of the Seafarer, which is one of the annual United Nations observances, was first established in 2011 by the International Maritime Organization. Since then, the IMO has found different ways to pay tribute to the world’s mariners and to thank them for their untold number of contributions, not only to the world economy, but also to all of society.