Port Arthur International Seafarer's Center
Southeast Texas is the home to the 4th largest maritime industry in the United States. The Sabine-Neches Waterway is the nations leading crude oil port, the nation’s leading military outload port, and beginning in 2015, the nation’s leading liquid natural gas export port.
This maritime activity brings more than 46,000 seafarers to our community each year. These mariners come from every state in the union, and from every continent except Antarctica. These men and women make it possible for our refineries to operate, and carry our exports of refined petrochemical products, petroleum coke, and East Texas wood products to markets throughout the world.
After September 11, 2001, the life of seafarers changed forever. New security regimes severely restricted their freedom to exercise their ancient right to shore leave. A seafarer must now be escorted and transported through our local facilities by properly trained personnel.
Each year, the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center spends more than $30,000 providing maritime security escort service and transportation to seafarers calling in the southern reaches of the Sabine-Neches Waterway. Through the generosity of the Foundation of Southeast Texas, a portion of the cost of gasoline and insurance are met.
The seafarers’ center is not a transportation service. Rather, our escorting and transportation service is the means by which we carry out our mission of welcome to the men and women who make our Southeast Texas economy run. By providing a means to leave their ships, the mariners experience our diverse Southeast Texas culture, taste our wonderful cuisine, stimulate our local economy, communicate with their families through the seafarers’ centers telephone and internet facilities, and also find spiritual renewal and support through the port chaplains and supportive religious communities.