Ceremony at the Seawall: Seafarers remembered on National Maritime Day
Published 6:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2019
Port Arthur seafarers and those who support them along the shore observed National Maritime Day on Wednesday with a brief ceremony at the Seaman’s Memorial Sundial downtown.
Some 40 participants honored the nation’s colors, shared scripture and made a procession to the Seawall, along the ship channel. A wreath was placed in the waterway by the Sabine Pilots.
A reception followed at the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center, where Capt. Jackie Twomey, commander of Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur, was the speaker.
This year’s national maritime observance was themed “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.”
“On this day, we recognize mariners of our nation and our community,” said Larry Kelley, director of the Port of Port Arthur, awaiting the start of the ceremony. “Some gave the ultimate sacrifice, protecting our coast and in times of national emergency.”
The sundial was erected in 1973 in honor of the crew of the SS Texaco-Oklahoma, which sank March 27, 1971 on a voyage from Port Arthur to Boston. The cause was structural failure. Thirty-one lives were lost.
In his Maritime Day proclamation, President Trump said, “We recognize these seafaring merchant mariners for helping to fuel our economy, maintain our sea power and support our national security.”
The president noted that he recently signed an executive order allowing Armed Forces veterans transition seamlessly into civilian careers in the Merchant Marines, using their military training and experience to become credentialed merchant mariners.
Deputy Maritime Administrator Richard Balzano will be the keynote speaker at the Texas National Maritime Celebration which will be observed Thursday night at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center, 1800 Lakeshore Drive.
Cocktails at 6:30, welcome at 7, dinner at 7:15 and speakers at 7:45.
The State of the Waterways speaker will be Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.
Individual tickets cost $100, through gold tickets, $1,000.
Port Arthur International Public Port is the principal sponsor.
Contact: Sandra Myers, Port of Port Arthur, 409-779-0617; Sandra@portpa.com.