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  May 23rd, 2018 | Written by

National Maritime Day Commemorated May 22

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  • National Maritime Day was declared by Congress in 1933.
  • US ports bring jobs, economic development, goods movement and international competitiveness.
  • National Maritime Day offers the nation’s ports an opportunity to showcase their value to their communities.

A little-known annual American commemoration came up again yesterday—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 US merchant mariners.

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

For the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) National Maritime Day offers the nation’s ports an 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 program on May 22 at the US Department of Transportation’s Washington, DC, headquarters for a wreath laying ceremony.

“Ports play a vital role in supporting our national economy, jobs, tax resources and their communities,” said Nagle. “On top of that, America’s seaports and their private-sector partners are planning nearly $155 billion in port-related infrastructure investments through 2020, 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 ts National Maritime Day Port Expo from on Sunday, May 20, with local working ships, tugs, Coast Guard vessels and fireboats; exhibits from local maritime companies; and a display of Lego model vessels.

Canaveral Port Authority, in conjunction with its local Propeller Club chapter, will host its 17th Annual Port Canaveral Maritime Day Celebration on Saturday, May 26.  The event begins with a memorial ceremony, followed by a harbor tour and wreath laying ceremony on the waters of the harbor aboard Space Coast River Tour’s Blue Dolphin. Following the ceremony, there will be a luncheon at Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar at Port Canaveral.  Proceeds from the luncheon will go to the US Naval Sea Cadets Courageous Division.

Port Corpus Christi celebrated the men and women who serve the US Merchant Marine industry and the vital contributions they make in facilitating global trade on May 22. At various events, each of the port’s facilities will host a small celebration for its employees. Later that evening, port staff will present 20 gift bags to Merchant Marines at the Corpus Christi International Seaman’s Center. A wreath honoring the Merchant Marines will be also be presented to the Seaman’s Center.

The Propeller Club of the Port of Duluth-Superior hosted its celebration at the University of Minnesota Duluth on May 22. The event honors all merchant mariners, merchant marine veterans and other Propeller Club members who’ve served in the US Armed Forces, and also recognizes the contributions of all maritime stakeholders. It begins with a luncheon, followed by a remembrance service hosted by the Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers.

Port Everglades, in Broward County, Florida, hosted its free National Maritime Day event on Saturday, May 19. EDT. Each year, Port Everglades invites volunteers of all ages and talents to participate in a community service project to transform recycled petroleum drums into decorative trash and recycling bins that will be used throughout the port. During the awards portion of the event, participants learned about the positive economic impact Port Everglades has in the community and the important contributions that mariners make in international trade and cruise travel.

Port of Galveston, in partnership with Texas A&M University, co-hosted its annual National Maritime Day event on May 22. In addition to recognizing the contribution of the maritime industry to America’s heritage and economic vitality, the day included an All Things Maritime event, enabling Galveston Independent School District students to learn more about the positive economic impact the maritime industry and mariners have in the Galveston community.

The Port of New Orleans (aka Port NOLA) seized the opportunity to extend National Maritime Day messages throughout the month of May to raise public awareness about the value of the port and its importance to the community through a variety of events, partnerships, promotions, website and social media channels. The goal is to pay tribute to the region’s rich maritime history and to recognize the hardworking men and women who serve in the industry. The port’s theme is Your Working River 300 to honor the city of New Orleans’ Tricentennial year, and included numerous activities to demonstrate the industry’s vital role in job creation and its connection to the community.

On National Maritime Day, the port and Port Arthur International Seafarers Center co-sponsored the community’s 32nd annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service. The event recognizes the 76th Anniversary of the U-boat attacks against US shipping in 1942, when 33 ships were sunk or damaged while en route to or from the Port Arthur area. Six ships were lost in action during May 1942: the Munger T. Ball, Aurora, Gulfpenn, Gulfprince, Gulfoil, and Mercury Sun, and 64 US merchant mariners and four armed guards were killed. Following the observance at the Seamen’s Memorial Sundial, there was a wreath laying in the channel by a pilot boat, with tug escorts and a water curtain.

The Port of San Diego designated the entire month of May as Maritime Month to celebrate the men and women who make San Diego’s maritime industries successful, and to ensure their efforts are recognized as having a major impact on the San Diego region. The port launched a public education campaign by inviting the public to participate in tours and co-hosting a special luncheon with the Propeller Club of San Diego.