• COVID-19
    DEVASTATING FOR SEAFARERS All around the world the pandemic has led to suffering and tragedy, and crew members of cargo ships are in an especially vulnerable position.  Some 300,000 seafarers are working far beyond the end of their contracts, trapped on board by precautions and travel restrictions, but also by red tape and inaction by some … Read more
    Executive Director Helene Pierson has just completed a video version of the training our staff members get on staying safe – and keeping others safe – during the Covid-19 crisis. We’re sharing it in case it can help others.
    Cargo ships continue to arrive in our Delaware River ports, bringing much-needed supplies from all over the world.  We are providing our staff and volunteers with the best safety equipment we can acquire, and our new motto is “Safety ** Short Visits ** Social Distancing.”   This means we continue to reach out to seafarers … Read more
  • Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities
    SCI celebrates the release of final regulations from the U.S. Coast Guard requiring port terminal operators to provide access between the gate of their facility and vessels docked there. This is the final step in correcting a situation that initially trapped seafarers on board their ships, and kept organizations like SCI from being able to visit … Read more
  • “To visit Philadelphia was always my wish . . “
    Josh Simonetti picked up three seafarers from the crude oil tanker UMLMA during the vessel’s brief time at Paulsboro and launched them on a whirlwind tour of Philadelphia highlights.  We received these photos along with a thank you from the ship’s Second Officer. Good day, This is Shihas, second mate from ship Umima which was … Read more
  • SCI in the News
    SCI is featured in the January 2019 issue of South Jersey Magazine.  “Moored in Ministry,” by Kate Morgan, gives readers a terrific profile of our history, dating back to the 19th century “Floating Chapel,” and our mission of reaching out to seafarers whose needs range from the personal and medical to the spiritual.  Shown here … Read more
  • Volunteer Ship Visitors
    SCI Chaplain David Reid and veteran ship visitor Annie Thomas conducted the first in a series of training sessions for Ship Visitors in February.  Ship Vistors play a crucial role in welcoming seafarers to our ports and assuring we respond to their needs. Like many seafarer service organizations around the world, SCI increasingly relies on volunteers … Read more
  • Seafarer Centre of the Year
    Seamen’s Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey is proud to have been nominated by seafarers and chosen as one of six finalists for SEAFARERS’ CENTRE OF THE YEAR by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network. Our Executive Director Helene Pierson responded to a series of questions from ISWAN as part of this nomination, … Read more
  • “We’ll Never Forget the Experience!” —
    — Lansdale Lutheran Youth say after touring a ship in the Port of Philadelphia. The youth from Trinity Lutheran Church came bearing cookies and warm knit caps for seafarers as part of their Martin Luther King Day of Service. Their tour guides represented Seamen’s Church Institute of Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Seafarers International … Read more
  • SCI Announces New Executive Director
    SEAMAN’S CHURCH INSTITUTE OF PHILADELPHIA AND SOUTH JERSEY ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR July 14, 2016 The Seaman’s Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey (SCI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Helene Pierson as its new Executive Director. Ms. Pierson brings almost 15 years of non-profit management experience to our organization and has expertise … Read more
  • During a Hospital Stay, the Little Things Count
    When we get wind of a seafarer in the port with a medical crisis, we pray and hope for the best, but often prepare ourselves for the worst. Recently, we got a phone call that a seafarer was in a hospital over in Camden due to heart problems. We weren’t sure who he was, what … Read more
  • Vulnerable
    When you think of the phrase ‘vulnerable population’ do seafarers come to mind? We had a ship come into port recently on which the crew had not been paid for 3 months. Because of communication difficulties and the complexity of systems in the maritime shipping industry, seafarers are vulnerable to a number of abuses. In this … Read more
  • The Story of the MV Venta
    Original story published on July 14th, update below original text:  The MV Venta is a bulk carrier ship that first came into Port here in Philadelphia on June 30th. Three days later, we got word that the ship was being arrested due to owners’ non-payment of bills. Money is owed to various vendors, the ship … Read more
  • The Seafarer’s Life
    The portrait of a cargo-ship worker has changed since SCI began serving the Delaware Riverway in 1843. Seamen often take jobs as seafarers to lift their families out of poverty. They are on-call as needed, and travel all over the globe to work in often unregulated conditions, with people they don’t know and who may … Read more