Seafarers International House honors three 'outstanding friends'

(NEW YORK) — Members of the maritime community gathered Thursday evening at the New York Athletic Club to honor three of its leaders: H. Marshall Ainley (president, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association), Ian T. Blackley (president and chief executive officer, Overseas Ship Management Inc.) and Raymond J. Burke Jr. (partner, Burke & Parsons).

These individuals were given the 2016 Outstanding Friend of Seafarers Award by Seafarers International House, a Lutheran, nonprofit agency serving merchant seafarers in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, at the organization’s 16th annual Setting the Course Awards Banquet.

Ainley was elected president of MEBA in January 2014 and is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Maritime Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.  He sailed with the Military Sealift Command for six years and holds a chief engineer’s license and a masters of business administration degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Blackley was appointed president and CEO of OSG in January 2015 having served a year earlier as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He holds a nautical science degree from Glasgow College of Nautical Studies and a master mariner class 1 license.  

Burke is a partner in the maritime law firm of Burke & Parsons, founded by his father. He is a 1965 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1968 graduate of Fordham University School of Law. Following law school, he served as a line officer in the U.S. Navy for three years in service on USS Lexington (CVS 16) and ashore in Saigon with the Military Sealift Command.    

Following the reception, the 250 banquet guests were entertained by the United States Coast Guard Academy Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Robert G. Newton. The invocation was delivered by the Rev. Robert A. Rimbo, bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the benediction was delivered by the Rev. James H, McKinley, retired pastor of the ELCA and president of Seafarers International House.  

About Seafarers International House

Seafarers International House was founded in 1873 as a mission for Swedish seafarers and immigrants. It continues today as a port mission in the northeast for a multi-faith, multi-national community of seafarers and asylum seekers and other immigrants. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and broadly supported by maritime firms, labor unions, church groups and individuals.  

Seafarers International House’s port mission centers around seven port chaplains and a fleet of vans, visiting seafarers aboard ship to provide for their needs and to transport them during their brief shore leave to shopping malls, health clinics, and other places of interest. Given time constraints and port security restrictions, the port chaplains are very often the only connection the merchant seafarers have with communities ashore.

The agency also owns and operates an 84-room guesthouse for seafarers and recently released asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrants. Immigrants who have been forced to flee persecution in their homelands and seek asylum in the United States are immediately imprisoned for periods of six to 24 months while the claims for asylum are processed and adjudicated. Once released from immigrant detention centers, the asylees have little to no resources or connections in this country. Seafarers International House offers them temporary shelter and the services of a pastor and social worker to facilitate their acclimation to their newly adopted homelands. For more information, visit

By Professional Mariner Staff