SCI: Disaster Relief on the Fly
On Tuesday, September 11, New Yorkers — and the world — were jolted into a day of terror and tragedy as two commercial jetliners plowed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, leaving more than 6,000 missing persons.
Seamen's Church Institute (SCI), a perennial source of strength and support for the International maritime community, went into action immediately, setting up a 24-hour relief effort that, over the course of the days following, has served as a safe haven Jor rescue workers, New York City police officers, firefighters and members of the Army National Guard.
By Regina P. Ciardiello, senior editor With its 175-year tradition of responding to mariners in need. Seamen's Church Institute (SCI), which is located at 241 Water St., in the heart of New York's "Maritime District," near the South Street Seaport, has, on many occasion, taken on the role of a "safe haven" during some of the most historic as well as tragic, incidents on the high seas.
According to the Rev. Canon Peter Larom, SCI's executive director, the Institute offered to put up the crews of both the Titanic and the Andrea Doria following their doomed voyages.
More recently however, the Institute came through for the City of New York in 1993, when the World Trade Center was hit with by terrorism when a car bomb exploded in its parking garage.
The Institute allowed the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, whose offices were located in the Towers, to use some of their office space for six months while they rebuilt. This time, however, in reaction to a tragedy of much greater magnitude, SCI put its efforts into high gear as a central relief station for rescue workers. Upon entering the ground floor of the SCI, it is inconceivable to believe that just days earlier this is the same spot where the Institute holds its Simulator Training classes as the entire area was covered with boxes filled with everything from food to socks, to work boots and toothpaste. These items, which were received by the Institute through donations from various church organizations, coupled with the constant flow of volunteers who provided the workers with food and drinks, rounded out what SCI's director of communications, Debra Wagner, dubbed, "emergency relief on the fly." According to Wagner, more than 500 people visited the Institute every four hours to obtain food, a cup of coffee, or to just have a place to rest Getting it Together On the morning of September 11, executive director Rev. Larom was returning from Houston, Texas. In fact, he was traveling over the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan when he saw a plane hit World Trade Center One. He immediately abandoned his car on the bridge and walked across into Manhattan's lower East side, making his way over to the Institute. When he arrived, the building — and the entire downtown area — was in the process of being evacuated. Rev. Larom however stayed behind, keeping in touch with George Benjamin, the Institute's Director, who agreed with Rev. Larom that the Institute should come through once again, serving as a relief center for rescue workers. And by 2 p.m., Tuesday, September 11, the Institute took on that role once again.
Even as New York City resembled a ghost town on that day, SCI was abuzz with activity, as Rev. Larom said that by the next morning, there was a constant stream of people who visited the relief center on Water St., as well as two auxiliary posts set up through the Institute at nearby St. Paul's Church on Fulton St.
and Broadway, and at One Liberty Plaza.
A Tragedy Hits Home While this tragedy has hit a spot in the hearts of those involved in the shipping community, the task of getting one of the nation's premier and historic ports back in business is a top priority. The NY/NJ Port Authority's headquarters were located in one of the Towers, which are now just piles of rubble waiting to be transported via tugboats to Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.
Aside from being a dealt a jolting financial blow in trying to establish itself as the hub port of the Eastern Seaboard, the Port Authority was dealt with a personal tragedy as well — Neil Levin, the Authority's executive director, is still regarded as one of the missing. "This will hit the port industry very hard," Rev. Larom said. "It's a huge setback, which will cripple the industry. Therefore we must link together and get behind the efforts of Port Commerce Director, Rick Larrabee, (who is also an SCI board member,) to re-establish the Port." He added: "While this disaster affects the financial industry, it also affects the maritime industry — the Port Authority is the agency that we relate to as shipping people."
Other stories from October 2001 issue
- Gratingless Air Circ System in Reefer Ships page: 44A
- New Technology To Debut At Europort page: 44B
- AIS: T h e Future is N ow page: 44F
- NOL Reports First Half Profit of $1M page: 4
- Speechless page: 6
- John Deere Offers N ew 3 0 0 HP Engine page: 7
- Now the Carousel Ship page: 8
- Port Security Strengthened in Wake of Disaster page: 12
- A Race With A Meaning ... Before the Fall of the Towers page: 14
- SCI: Disaster Relief on the Fly page: 15
- Following Wake of Terrorist Attacks, USS Cole is Relaunched page: 18
- INTERTANKO Offers Support, Vital Information During National Tragedy page: 19
- G O M Softness Drives GLM Score Down page: 20
- All-Purpose Aid And Hospital Vessel Delivered page: 21
- ASRY's Services Are In High Demand page: 23
- Rolf To The Rescue: German Yard Delivers Aluminum Rescue Launch page: 25
- Fusion Polycraft's RIB Designed To Be Indestructible page: 25
- Sea-Kindly: A Steady Vessel by Design page: 26
- New Inland Containership Concept Unveiled page: 30
- High-Tech Service Initiatives From Deltamarin page: 32
- FORAN v50: A Technological Renovation page: 36
- N a p a O y Opens Office In Japan page: 38
- NUPAS-Cadmatic Offers V4.3 page: 40
- Ship Evac Simulation Software Shows Promise page: 42
- Wartsila s Dual-Fuel Engine Power Module For FPSO Upgrade page: 44
- Euroferrys' Fast Ferry Features Cat 3618 Power page: 46
- PRI Fuel Treatment Helps Meet Emissions Challeng es page: 47
- Western Towboat Gets A N e w Titan page: 48
- Nichols Bros. To Construct Powerful Fireboat page: 50
- Statoil Ships Run on Gas... Liquefied Natural Gas That Is page: 51
- W Q I S Broadens Coverage To Meet State Requirements page: 52
- Wartsila Wins Environmental Award page: 53
- Pumping Ballast for Ocean-Going Barges page: 54
- Self-Cleaning Filter System Cuts Maintenance Costs page: 60
- CMP Packs Decade of Tin-Free Experience page: 62
- MarineLine Boosts C l e a r w a t e r ' s Profitability page: 64
- Dampney Manufactures Advanced Coatings page: 67
- W a r t s i l a Engines To Power Queen M a r y 2 page: 70
- Keppel Hitachi Zosen Delivers Semi-tender Rig page: 73