by Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., Director, Center for Seafarers' Rights
SCI Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, and Center for Seafarers’ Rights Director Douglas B. Stevenson recently visited SCI’s maritime ministry partners in Vitoria and Paranagua, Brazil. SCI and Brazilian partners established the ministries to provide vital chaplaincy services for seafarers in ports where such programs did not exist.
SCI’s work in Brazil began in 1997 when it and the Espirito Santo Baptist Convention inaugurated a new seafarers’ center in Vitoria, Brazil. The Vitoria Seafarers’ Center was initiated by a graduate of SCI’s chaplaincy training program Pastor Damivan dos Santos. In 2000, SCI along with the Espirito Santo Baptist Convention and the Parana Baptist Convention commissioned Pastor Damivan to establish a seafarers’ center in the bustling port of Paranagua.
Vitoria’s maritime ministry is growing under the able leadership of SCI’s chaplaincy training program graduate Lorena Marchesi Caetano. The Center has adapted from one remote location to three mini-centers convenient to ports in Vitoria and Port Ubu to more efficiently serve mariners.
In Paranagua, the center’s prime location results in a very active center offering a wide range of services to seafarers and to the port community in Paranagua. Both the Paranagua Seafarers’ Service Center’s director, Pastor Luis Lucas and its port chaplain, Pastor Rivelino dos Santos, graduated from SCI’s chaplaincy training program.
After visiting the Brazilian centers, David Rider observed, "At our best, SCI employs 174 years of maritime experience to train port chaplains and to continue supporting them around issues of spirituality, human dignity and seafarer rights. Thriving port ministries in Paranagua and Vitoria represent the best of this tradition."