SIU Officials, Rank-and-File Members Salute Mariners in Port Arthur

 

July 2014

 

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Seafarers and SIU officials joined in saluting the nation’s merchant mariners during a National Maritime Day Ceremony May 22 in Port Arthur, Texas.

 

SIU tugboat crews from Seabulk and Moran supported the gathering from aboard their vessels nearby, while SIU Houston Safety Director Kevin Sykes and Fr. Sinclair Oubre, who has sailed with the union as an AB, were part of the ceremony ashore. Oubre, in fact, was a featured speaker – he’s the director of the Port Arthur International Seafarers Center.

 

Brian Hill of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) read this year’s National Maritime Day proclamation from the White House next to a memorial sundial erected in 1973 in honor of local mariners and particularly in memory of the Texaco Oklahoma crew. The Texaco Oklahoma was a National Maritime Union vessel; 31 of its 44 mariners perished on March 27, 1971 near Cape Hatteras, N.C., as the ship sank while sailing from Port Arthur to Boston. (It was struck by a massive wave and broke up.)

 

Oubre said the National Maritime Day ceremony “went very well. This was the 28th year of hosting the ceremony in Port Arthur. This year, we focused on MARAD. It was an opportunity for us to look back upon the importance of the maritime industry to our community and to encourage future generations of mariners to enter the industry. It was also a chance to thank MARAD for all they do for our area.”

 

Hill, the agency’s gateway director for the western Gulf of Mexico, also discussed southeast Texas’ crucial role in the maritime industry and pointed out that roughly 25 percent of all maritime commerce in the U.S. “moves in and out of Texas.”

 

At a reception following the waterfront ceremony, Hill spoke about the important partnerships that exist throughout the maritime industry. He also touched on some infrastructure improvements that should bolster the industry.

 

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