Some background and FAQs
Although this TED talk is from 2013, it is a valuable introduction to the shipping industry. Journalist Rose George is the author of the book: Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate.
1. Do we always meet ships in Point Comfort?
Yes, our focus in on the ships in Point Comfort. The other deepwater ports in Texas have their own seafarer centers, i.e. Corpus Christi International Seaman's Center, Houston International Seafarers' Center, Port Arthur International Seafarers Center, Galveston Seafarers Center, Brownsville has the International Seafarer Center and Freeport has Texas Port Ministry. These centers are just a few of the worldwide network.
2. Are we Catholic, nondenominational, secular, or affiliated with a group of local churches?
Yes, to all. The Point Comfort Seafarers Center is a nonprofit public charity that serves as an umbrella organization for the ecumenical ministry to the seafarers. We have local churches that are involved as they choose, including Our Lady of the Gulf, Grace Episcopal, and First Presbyterian, Palacios. We partner with the Catholic Diocese of Victoria in Texas as a part of the worldwide Catholic ministry know as Stella Maris. We are also working in agreement with The Mission to Seafarers and the Sailors Society which are also worldwide networks supporting seafarers.
3. Do we only work at Christmas?
No, we assist the seafarers all year long. While Christmas-at-Sea is our most high-profile program in the area, it is not our only outreach. We work daily to meet the practical and spiritual needs of seafarers that visit our port. The Center is ready to provide assistance, friendship, and genuine concern to demonstrate that the seafarers are not invisible or forgotten.
See our services page for more information. This will change as more volunteers join our new center and we grow.
We also work to educate the local community on the existence of the seafarers and their role in our quality of life. Presentations can be given to any group that is interested in knowing more.
4. What is the monthly time commitment?
There is no monthly time commitment. Each volunteer is welcome to work as much or as little as they wish and only depends on what time, talent or treasure they want to share. Ship visiting depends on how many vessels are in port. After the building is completed, we may set some hours for volunteers to serve as host/hostess to assist any seafarers that come into the center.
5. Are there any dues?
No, there is no charge to volunteer with us. If you want to be an active ship visitor, there is a small charge for an online course (see below). Volunteers entering the secured port area need a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as
TWIC® or they must be escorted by a volunteer that has one. Contact us for more information.
The Ship Welfare Visitor Course online is offered by the UK Merchant Navy Welfare Board and seeks to equip seafarers’ welfare staff and volunteers with a basic appreciation of protocol, security, and safety and issues relating to port facilities and visiting ships. To learn more about the course, please view this introductory video:
If you are interested in taking the course, contact us for more details or visit: https://www.shipwelfarevisitor.com/register.php