Nick Cooper - Townsquare Media

U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, current seafarers and maritime industry stakeholders will be gathering today, May 22, to celebrate National Maritime Day in the Port of Duluth-Superior. Attendees will gather at noon in the Horizon Room of the DECC Harbor Side Convention Center.

 Steven A. Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association will give the keynote address. His presentation, entitled Marine Delivers! Promoting the Great Lakes Maritime Industry, will highlight the industry’s public information initiative, underscoring the fuel efficiency and significantly smaller carbon footprint of ships versus land-based modes of transportation.                                           

The commemorative event, sponsored locally by the Propeller Club of Duluth-Superior, includes an opening ceremony with the presentation of colors by four members of U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit – Duluth, followed by a memorial service to honor seafarers past and present.

AGLPA represents the interests of 13 public port authorities, including the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. Based in Washington, D.C., its mission is to inform and influence public policies that foster maritime commerce and advance economic development within the Great Lakes region. "The 85 active freight-handling ports along this waterway operate as an integrated transportation system – moving over 180 million short tons of cargo annually to destinations across North America and around the world,” notes Fisher. “Ports also are an engine for job growth and economic sustainability. Across the bi-national Great Lakes-Seaway system, marine transport creates 227,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in business revenue each year." 

National Maritime Day is a time-honored tradition that recognizes America’s Merchant Marine for their legacy of service and sacrifice, safeguarding our nation and its trade corridors during times of war and peace. The date, May 22, commemorates the sailing of the first steam vessel across the Atlantic Ocean in 1819, the SS Savannah’s voyage from Georgia to Liverpool, England. Today, National Maritime Day is observed across the country as a combined salute to merchant mariners, veterans and the entire maritime industry, focusing attention on the importance of maritime and its value to America’s economy, trade, national security, employment, recreation and quality of life.