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  May 25th, 2016 | Written by

Commemorating National Maritime Day

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  • May 22 was National Maritime Day in the U.S.
  • National Maritime Day was declared by Congress in 1933 to honor America’s maritime heritage and its merchant mariners.
  • U.S. seaports are investing $155 billion in infrastructure investments over the next five years.

A little-known annual American commemoration took place earlier this week. May 22 was National Maritime Day.

It was declared by Congress in 1933 to call attention to America’s proud maritime heritage and to honor the men and women who serve and have served as U.S. merchant mariners.

It’s also a day to recognize and reflect on the rewards that America’s ports bring the country in terms of jobs, economic development, goods movement and international competitiveness.

A similar commemoration also took place recently in the European Union.

For the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) National Maritime Day offers the nation’s ports a great opportunity to showcase the value of their facilities, operations and personnel to their respective communities.

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle participated in the federal government’s commemorative program on Monday, May 23, when he joined U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen at USDOT’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for the National Maritime Day and Wreath Laying Ceremony.

“Collectively,” said Nagle, “America’s seaports support 23.1 million jobs, annually generate more than $321 billion in federal, state and local taxes, account for over a quarter of the U.S. economy, and handle more than 2.2 billion metric tons of international and domestic cargo. On top of that, our nation’s seaports and their private-sector partners are planning nearly $155 billion in port-related infrastructure investments over the next five years, which will further bolster the economy and help ensure the goods we export and import are moved efficiently, thereby improving America’s competitiveness in worldwide markets.”

The Port of Baltimore hosted its National Maritime Day Port Expo at Canton Pier 13 in Baltimore. The free event featured visiting ships, tours of marine terminals, and a display of Lego model vessels.

Canaveral Port Authority, in conjunction with local organizations, sponsored the fifteenth annual Port Canaveral Maritime Day Commemoration on Saturday, May 21, to honor U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, mariners lost at sea, and to recognize the U.S. maritime industry.

The Port of Duluth-Superior honored National Maritime Day at a luncheon in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Friday, May 20. In addition to a seafarers memorial service, the event featured keynote speaker Mike Piskur, program manager for maritime transportation, aquatic invasive species and water use data at the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

Port Everglades, in Broward County, Florida, hosted its sixth annual “Keep Port Everglades Shipshape” painting party on Saturday, May 21. The event gives community volunteers the opportunity to test their creativity by painting recycled petroleum drums for use as decorative trash and recycling bins throughout the port.

The Port of San Diego is hosting a celebration throughout May titled Maritime Month, with events that include free public bus and boat tours, each featuring detailed narratives on San Diego’s working waterfront, including cargo operations, cruise facilities, shipyards and associated vessels calling on the port.

The Port of Virginia’s CEO and executive director John F. Reinhart participated in a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony and brief reception on Thursday, May 19, sponsored by the Propeller Club of Norfolk.