Very Successful “Christmas at Sea” Program!

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The 2014 “Christmas at Sea” program was a terrific success.  Thank you to the volunteers and supporters who donated their time and gifts to the seamen.  In all, 780 gift bags were distributed to seafarers from 33 ships that visited the Port of Wilmington during the month of December.  The Seamen’s Center plans a mid-year drive for 2015 “Christmas at Sea” supplies.  We look forward to your continued support.

Easing Hardships of Seafarers Spending Christmas at Sea, the International Seamen’s Center and
The Propeller Club Port of Wilmington Deliver Gifts to Seamen Visiting the Port City in December


Wilmington, NC – Dec. 3, 2014 — The International Seamen’s Center (ISC) an interdenominational, non-profit organization and The Propeller Club Port of Wilmington are banding together to provide Christmas gifts to seamen who visit the Port City during December. The two organizations are inviting Wilmington residents and businesses to make a difference in the life of a seafarer by donating personal care items or making a financial contribution this holiday season.

“We expect at least 30 ships to dock at our port in December and want to provide a Christmas gift of personal care items to each seamen visiting the Seamen’s Center in the Port of Wilmington,” according to Cary Newman, International Seamen’s Center Board Chairman. “Most of us see Christmas as a festive season, where you enjoy time with your families and friends, however this is not possible for the seaman, at least not while at sea. Their loneliness must be particularly acute during the holiday season when we are in our warm homes exchanging gifts that probably arrived in this country by ship,” said Newman.

Seamen’s Center volunteers and supporters annually minister to about 7,000 seafarers who arrive on ships in the Port City from every corner of the world. In 2013, the Center’s volunteers helped seamen from more than 40 different countries experience a “Home away from Home” by wrapping and giving away over 700 gifts during the holiday season “Christmas at Sea” program. The holiday gift program has been a part of the Center’s ongoing ministry for several decades.

“The Propeller Club is supporting the Seamen’s Center to help those who crew the world’s merchant ships and bring us the goods we all need in our daily lives,” said Geoffrey Losee, President of The Propeller Club Port of Wilmington, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of the maritime community. “The ‘Christmas at Sea’ program makes the holidays a little warmer for mariners. To express our gratitude we are asking our members and all Port City businesses who rely on the shipping industry to make a financial contribution to the Seamen’s Center, as our way of saying thank you,” Losee said.

Seamen’s Center chaplains, in consultation with the visiting crews, have compiled a list of needed items that are available at many retail stores and make a significant impact in their lives. The list of needed items includes personal care products such as hand lotion, lip balm, shaving cream, disposable razors, bar soap, deodorant, tooth paste, tooth brushes, combs, shampoo, nail clippers, knitted hats, work socks, candy, and playing cards. Travel size items, if possible, are requested.

While it seems ironic that mariners who work to deliver goods from around the world to our homes and workplaces can find it difficult to obtain the simple items of modern convenience, with long stretches on the water and far from home, seamen miss the opportunities that land-dwellers often take for granted. The Seamen’s Center provides vans and volunteers drive the seamen to Wal-Mart, BestBuy, and Independence Mall, especially for warm clothing and electronic items. The Seamen’s Center also provides telephone cards and Internet access so they can contact their families and loved ones, especially around Christmas, which can be a lonely time for seafarers who are hundreds or thousands of miles from their families.

International Seamen’s Center Chaplain Ritchie Wammack has organized the Christmas gift program for the past eight years and requests that deliveries of donated personal care products for the seamen be arranged by contacting him at (910) 297-3669. The Center is a 501 (c )(3) non-profit organization. Financial contributions can be sent to The International Seamen’s Center, P.O. Box 486, Wilmington, NC 28402 or made online via the Center’s website

About the International Seamen’s Center: In 1968, Wilmington’s churches banded together in support of an international mission to seafarers who docked at the State Port. The Center’s work is conducted almost entirely by volunteers, and it relies exclusively on voluntary donations to fund the services it provides. The Seamen’s Center building is located at the State Port of Wilmington, just inside the port’s south gate, off Shipyard Boulevard. For more information about the Center’s volunteer and fundraising activities, visit their website at

About The Propeller Club Port of Wilmington: The Propeller Club promotes the development of open, free and fair trade between nations, by supporting water-borne, intermodal, and bulk transportation systems. On a local basis, it aggressively promotes the maritime industry through many of its programs and partnerships with other similar organizations. The non-profit group has pledged to support the International Seamen’s Center and its ministry to seamen visiting the Port of Wilmington. For more information about the Club, contact Ryan Tennant at 910-763-3404 or

Photo Opportunity: International Seamen’s Center volunteers will board visiting ships in the Port City during the month of December to distribute “Christmas at Sea” gifts to the seamen. Photo opportunities are available on Friday’s between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (when ships are docked at the State Port). Media interested in photographing and interviewing Seamen’s Center and Propeller Club volunteers distributing gifts to crew members onboard the ships must make advance arrangements for access and onsite escorts by contacting ISC media volunteer George Clarke at 910-399-4676 or