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Ruth Setaro, Port of Connecticut/Rhode Island


Click here to read an article about Chaplain Setaro’s work in the ports

Rev. Luisito Destreza, Port of New York/New Jersey


Sigrid Jaeger Erickson, Port of New York/New Jersey

Rev. William C. Fensterer, Port of New York/New Jersey
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 Rev. Arnd Braun-Storck, Port of New York/New Jersey


Rev. K. Robert Schmitt, Port of Baltimore


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Rev. William M. Rex, Port of Philadelphia



We live in a global village. The world’s seaborne trade totals 8.4 billion tons. It is said that without seafarers, half the world would starve and the other half would freeze.

Crew contracts generally call for ten months or more service at modest wage rates and few benefits. For those ten months, the seafarer works and lives in virtual isolation in the middle of the ocean. For the brief time that his ship is in port, the seafarer will be regarded as a security risk and often denied shore leave. In those ten months, he will miss his family desperately. He will have no television and daily newspapers. He’ll run out of toothpaste and other necessities, and he will barely have any time or opportunity to shop, to see a dentist or even to call home.

So our port chaplains board merchant ships in the Ports of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey and Connecticut/Rhode Island with cell phones and international telephone cards, with Wi-Fi hubs for “Skype” communications, and newpapers and magazines. When homeland security allows, our port chaplains will take ashore to go shopping, to see a doctor or dentist, or just to “stand” on solid land. Lastly, our port chaplains listen to the stories and the hopes and joys, sorrows and concerns that the seafarer has no one else to tell. The seafarers are real people no less than ourselves, and they are entitled to our care, compassion and community support.

Last year, our port chaplains boarded over 2,200 merchant ships on the eastern seaboard, serving over 22,400 seafarers with pastoral care, hospitality, social assistance, advocacy and prayer. Our port mission re-connects seafarers with their families. 

Please call (212) 677-4800 if you need any one of our chaplains to visit your ship. Or send an email to port-mission@sihnyc.org


We are pleased to offer social work care and resources for seafarers and sojourners in conjunction with the Hunter school of Social Work through our SIH intern, Makda Kelib. Makda works at SIH Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to 5pm, and Friday afternoons from 1pm to 5pm. Makda will be at the SIU Union Hall on Friday mornings to answer any questions from seafarers and sojourners. Contact her for assistance at mkelib@sihnyc.org and at (212) 677-4800 X1207.