At its 2009 Spring Convention on April 3 in Pentagon City, VA, The American Waterway Operators (AWO) congratulated the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) for its 175 years of service to American mariners.
Craig Philip, CEO of Ingram Barge Company, member of AWO, and SCI trustee, reviewed the past fifteen years of SCI’s commitment to inland navigational training, along with pastoral care of mariners along the 2,000 mile stretch of waterways. Philip noted how the broad and historical mission of SCI came “to play a part in genuinely making [SCI] a partner with our industry and real catalyst for change….” Philip also credited SCI’s “nonpartisan and noncommercial persona” with helping to convince the United States Coast Guard to locate their Center of Expertise for towing vessels in the city of Paducah, KY, where the Institute maintains its Center for Maritime Education.
AWO President Tom Allegretti thanked SCI for its faithful support of America’s coastal and inland water operators. On behalf of AWO, Allegretti presented SCI with a plaque reading, “Congratulations to the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey on the celebration of your 175th anniversary. Thank you sincerely for your commitment to the welfare of mariners and the education and training you provide to the men and women who crew America’s tugboats and towboats.”
The Rev. David M. Rider, SCI’s President and Executive Director, received the plaque and thanked AWO members for their ongoing support of SCI’s mission. Fr. Rider shared digital photos from SCI’s archives, recalled the dangerous nature of seafaring in 1834, and updated AWO members on current issues like implementation of next-generation simulation equipment planned for SCI’s Paducah and Houston Centers for Maritime Education.
The American Waterways Operators is the national trade association representing the owners and operators of tugboats, towboats, and barges serving the waterborne commerce of the United States. Its mission is to promote the long-term economic soundness of the industry, and to enhance the industry's ability to provide safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible transportation through advocacy, public information, and the establishment of safety standards. At the same meeting, SCI trustee and K-Sea Transportation CEO Timothy Casey assumed chairmanship of AWO for the coming year.