The International Support Vessel Owners Association (ISOA) recognized the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) service to the industry by conferring an award of £5,000 GBP (approximately US $8,541) to support the work of the Institute serving offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico.
An association representing the interests of shipowners and operators of vessels providing support services to offshore installations, ISOA assembles members each year to discuss common interests in technical matters, safety and universally applied standards in the industry. At each annual meeting, ISOA makes an award to support the welfare needs of seafarers. In 2014, ISOA chose to make its donation to SCI.
Todd Hornbeck, President of ISOA, notes the Association’s strong membership contingency in the US Gulf. He expressed ISOA members’ interest in supporting the provision of services in that area. After hearing about SCI’s training centers and the Institute’s pastoral care program (expanded to include offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2011), members gathering in New Orleans for the conference agreed to give SCI the annual award.
While maritime workers in the offshore industry have a lot in common with mariners served by SCI in ports and on inland waterways, they face additional challenges. To get to work, companies transport their employees by both sea and air deep into remote areas—sometimes more than 100 miles from shore. They work far away from conventional services and support, increasing the risks when injury, sickness or other emergencies occur.
“SCI tries to be in the right place at the right time,” says the Rev. Winston Rice, Chaplain for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region, part of SCI’s Ministry on the Rivers and Gulf. “We greatly appreciate this recognition of our outreach and proven benefit to those we serve.”