by Douglas B. Stevenson, Director, Center for Seafarers’ Rights.
USCG Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown and his wife, Herminia Brown, took time out of their busy schedule yesterday to visit the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) International Seafarers’ Center in Port Newark while on an official visit to New York City. VADM Brown is the Commander of the US Coast Guard Pacific Area, responsible for all USCG operations in the 74 million square miles extending from the Western United States down to South America, up to the Arctic Circle, and as far west as Asia.
VADM Brown made his visit in response to an invitation extended by SCI President and Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, during a meeting at the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area headquarters for operations in Alameda, CA, in connection with SCI’s operations in the Port of Oakland.
VADM Brown’s interest in touring SCI’s nearly renovated International Seafarers’ Center was both professional and personal. As the senior Coast Guard officer responsible for maritime safety and security in the Pacific Area, VADM Brown has a keen interest in maintaining the world’s seafarers’ well-being and professional training. In addition, in their private lives, VADM and Mrs. Brown serve as examples of service to others. Because Mrs. Brown is the daughter of a merchant seafarer, they are particularly familiar with merchant seafarers’ and their families’ needs.
Touring SCI’s International Seafarers’ Center not only provided VADM and Mrs. Brown an opportunity to witness firsthand SCI’s programs for merchant seafarers, it also enabled VADM Brown to draw on his professional civil engineering education to examine the Center’s renovations, noting details most visitors would otherwise miss.