Throughout its SHIPPING 2009 meetings on March 23-25, the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) honored the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) for its 175 years of service to the maritime industry.
At a Monday evening Speakers’ Dinner, conference leader Jim Lawrence commended SCI’s historic and current pastoral care of seafarers, along with its legal advocacy and maritime education initiatives. At the concluding Commodore Award Dinner with more than 600 guests, CMA President Beth Wilson-Jordan thanked SCI for its leadership and presented a contribution from CMA to support SCI’s mission. The Rev. David Rider, SCI’s President and Executive Director, accepted CMA’s thanks and provided the invocation for both dinners.
SCI’s Douglas Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights, moderated a 3-hour plenary symposium, the Industry and Regulators’ Summit, which explored issues including pollution discharge, balancing human rights with criminal legal interests, and the dilemmas of balancing port security and seafarer shore leave access. Stevenson said, “A common thread that ran through all of the presentations was that recruiting and retaining skilled people for shipboard careers remains the gravest crisis facing the maritime industry, and all regulations must take into account their effect on seafarers’ quality of life.”
Many SCI trustees played prominent roles in the meetings. SCI Vice Chairman Richard du Moulin served as Master of Ceremonies for the Commodore Award Dinner, roasting recent Commodores (including himself, as 1999 Commodore) while honoring COSCO Group President & CEO Captain Wei Jiafu as 2009 Commodore. Other SCI trustees attending CMA included Bruce Paulsen, Gerhard Kurz, Jim Lawrence, Clay Maitland, Robert North, Peter Tirschwell and honorary trustee Charles Robertson.
CMA was created 25 years ago with a mission to provide an open forum for individuals to exchange ideas and information supporting the development and growth of the maritime industry and international trade. More than 1,000 industry leaders and exhibitors attended SHIPPING 2009 to engage each other with lively panel discussions and hallway connections. Both formally and informally, SCI staff and trustees represented the Institute while learning about the cutting issues of global shipping and trade. As Fr. Rider put it, “In three intense days, we connected with shipping leaders while engaging hot topics from seafarer abandonment to deterring piracy. I thank CMA for its leadership in sponsoring such an exciting forum."