Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey

Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey

Executive director

The changes required by new security regulations affect every aspect of the transportation industry, including the maritime ministry of the Seamen's Church Institute. We are committed to improving our services and to adjusting chaplains' schedules and the seafarer center hours to accommodate these changes. When seafarers have no visa or are detained on board ship because a shipmate has jumped ship or a stowaway has been found, chaplains typically spend extra time aboard. When the crew has shore leave, they depend upon SCI to provide transportation, which will now require special coordination with facility operators. At the same time, it is more important than ever to staff the center with trained hosts familiar with the port and ready to greet our guests.

But changes at New Jersey marine terminals and changes within the industry affecting the seafarer (and therefore SCI), are not all due to attempts to deter terrorism. The port has expanded, channels are being dredged to 50 feet, vessel traffic has increased and the industry moves forward. In keeping with these advances, SCI this year will complete a major renovation to the International Seafarers' Center where we greet more than 57,000 mariners, truckers, port workers and visitors annually. Through this $2.5 million renovation of the 39-year-old facility, we aim to address modern communication challenges, extended hours of port operation, and the space needed to train volunteer ship visitors and port chaplains to serve port ministries worldwide.

The design will also allow for increased usage by the New York-New Jersey port community. By providing attractive space to host meetings for shipping companies, terminal operations, truckers and trade associations, SCI helps to build coalitions and relationships among the private and public sectors.

What's more, the renovated building will reflect the shipping industry's abiding concern for the environment by incorporating the latest in "green" building design.