February 15, 2019
WASHINGTON - June 6, 2019 -- In his role as the new Executive Vice President of the International Propeller Club of the United States (IPCUS), John Cullather, is setting a course for the 50 American-based clubs, specifically, that involve streamlining and improving communication between ports and maritime policy issues and members of Congress.
"Congress has played a vital role in U.S. ports since the founding of our nation," says Cullather. "From the dredging of our harbors to the construction of lighthouses and the installation of aids-to-navigation, members of Congress have an enormous impact on maritime interests from coast-to-coast." Cullather is already cultivating material for member clubs in an effort to help streamline that communication between member ports and their Congressional representatives.
John Cullather was introduced to maritime industry executives on May 1, 2019, when the International Propeller Club of the United States held its 35th Maritime Industry Salute to Congress Dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. This year's award, presented by Rear Admiral Joel Whitehead, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), President of the Club, was given to the Honorable Cedric Richmond (D-LA).
U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (LA-02) serves as co-chair of the Congressional Maritime Caucus, a caucus he founded in 2013 with Michael G. Grimm (NY-11). The Caucus raises awareness among members of Congress on a broad range of maritime-related topics.
Representative Richmond spoke of the maritime industry's enormous contribution to the national economy in playing the vital role of connecting people, goods and information worldwide. He reported that daily the industry facilitates trade and commerce, creates jobs, helps secure our borders, provides energy resources, supports our military and serves as a steward of coastal resources. Onshore, the industry is supported by all manner of professionals in fields such as law, insurance, logistics, dredging, ship repair, security, environmental science, engineering, management, and workforce training.
Propeller Club members and guests were called to dinner by the rousing herald trumpets of the United States Merchant Marine Academy cadets who came down from Kings Point, New York for the event.
"In addition to supporting our U.S.-based clubs with legislative tools and support, we are developing a strategic plan," says Cullather. "One of the fundamental goals of that plan is to increase membership worldwide - and help the future leaders and maritime employees understand how being a member of the International Propeller Club will help them professionally as well as help their community." Local clubs, in the global network hold professional conferences, networking events and charitable activities.
"Many of our local clubs raise funds for scholarships and other needs in their community. This work needs to be supported and recognized," says Cullather. "We are now promoting these efforts on our web site and are hopeful that this will result in further philanthropic activities throughout the maritime community – both in the United States and overseas."
"The maritime industry impacts virtually everyone in the United States – from the farmers in Iowa to the person watching their television in Denver," Cullather says. "Our goal is to make sure that the maritime community includes not just the obvious members, such as those who work at ports, but those who ship goods using the maritime transportation system."
"We are fortunate to have a longtime maritime expert directing the day-to-day operations and direction of our international network of commercial maritime clubs," says President of the Propeller Club, Joel Whitehead. "John has been recognized with numerous awards including The Distinguished Public Service Award from the U.S. Coast Guard, The Samuel Plimsoll Award in 2015 from the editors of Professional Mariner Magazine, and The President's Award from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. We look forward to great things ahead for the Propeller Club and member ports and their members."
The IPCUS is grateful to the sponsors of its 35th Annual Salute to Congress whose contribution made the event possible: USA Maritime; American Maritime Congress; American Maritime Officers; American Maritime Officers Services; American Waterways Operators; American President Lines; Associated Branch Pilots; Crowley; Euro-American Shipping & Trade; Jones Walker, LLP; K & L Gates; Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, District No. 1; Masters, Mates, and Pilots; MIRAID; Propeller Club Port of Baltimore; Seafarers International Union; Transportation Institute; Louisiana Maritime Association; Port Ship Services; New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association; Harbor Towing Star Fleet; Propeller Club Port of New Orleans; Propeller Club Port of Tacoma; and the Propeller Club Port of Tampa.
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PRESIDENT WHITEHEAD VISITS PORTS IN US AND ABROAD
Tampa, Port Manatee and the South East Region
International President Joel Whitehead made a number of visits to Club Ports in the U.S. and abroad in late 2018, meeting with local and regional leaders of the Club. Reports about those visits are below.
Louisville and the Ohio Valley Region
In November, at the invitation of Ohio Valley Regional Vice President Maria Conatser, President Whitehead and his wife Martha traveled to Louisville, Kentucky. At the famous Captain’s Quarters restaurant (how appropriate!) he met for lunch with the leadership of several Ohio Valley Propeller Club Ports and the officers of the Port of Louisville. Over lunch, there was a broad-ranging conversation about the goals of the International Propeller Club, how to obtain and retain new members, and other issues facing individual Ports. At a dinner meeting of the Louisville Propeller Club at the Louisville Knights of Columbus Hall, President Whitehead thanked the Port for their invitation and discussed several items of importance to the inland river ports including the implementation of Sub-Chapter “M” (the inspection by the Coast Guard of previously uninspected towing vessels), passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 and its significance to river ports. He mentioned the American Waterways Operators new panel on barge safety and concluded with how the Propeller Club’s “Statement of Principles” links so well with these local issues. It was a very enjoyable evening with great attendance by the very active Port of Louisville.
Just before Christmas, President Whitehead traveled to Tampa, Florida to meet with South East Region leaders as well as the leadership of the Ports of Tampa Bay and Port Manatee for a morning round table discussion. Over fifteen regional leaders attended and participated in a broad-ranging discussion on International Club management, communications ideas, and the necessity for the recent international dues increase. The meeting was felt to have been exceptionally productive and set the stage for the Port of Tampa’s Holiday Luncheon which was in tribute to the Tampa Seafarer’s Center. President Whitehead addressed about 150 attendees and discussed the history of the International Propeller Club and Headquarters initiatives such as the new Strategic Planning and Corporate Sponsorship Committees. He also touted the induction of new member ports including the Port of Lugano, Switzerland, and Student ports at Texas Southern University in Houston; Northeast Maritime Institute in Fairhaven, Mass.; and Kaiser University in Florida. Over 100 gifts, ranging from toiletries, books, hats, and jackets were donated at the luncheon for seafarers who come to the port of Tampa.
Piraeus and the AMVER dinner
At the invitation of Port of Piraeus President C. Xiradakis and Regional Vice President Dr. Kostas Rokkos, President Whitehead and his wife Martha visited the Port of Piraeus in October, in conjunction with their annual AMVER Search and Rescue Awards ceremony. AMVER is the U.S. Coast Guard’s Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue program which is a worldwide search and rescue system involving more than 20,000 commercial ships from most maritime nations. The annual AMVER Award dinner hosted by the Port recognizes Greek mariners who participated in voluntary search and rescue efforts resulting in the saving of life at sea.
The 2019 AMVER dinner in Athens was attended by over 1,000 persons including the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Geoffrey R. Pyatt. The theme of this year’s award ceremony was “It’s in Our DNA: Dedication, Navigation, Acceleration.” Special Rescue Awards were presented to twelve companies who collectively rescued 69 persons at sea since the last awards. Over 200 Greek shipping companies with over 1,800 vessels under their management participate in AMVER.
Before the spectacular event, Joel and his wife Martha enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Greek shipping community including a dinner with the Port of Piraeus’ Board of Governors, and a working luncheon with Greek shipping executives at the Piraeus Yacht Club. They also toured the offices of Tsakos Shipping Company, one of the largest Greek shipping companies and had lunch with its founder, Captain Panagiotis Tsakos and other Tsakos executives. Captain Tsakos was also given special recognition at the AMVER Awards Dinner when he was honored for his continued efforts to maintain and promote the Hellenic maritime heritage and for the founding of the Lyceum for Maritime Studies, the Tsakos Enhanced Education Nautical School on the island of Chios.
While visiting Germany on personal business after visiting Piraeus, President and Mrs. Whitehead were warmly welcomed by Port President Jean-Marc Uhrweiller and the Board of the Propeller Club of the Strasbourg, France, including VP Cristiane Metzger, Treasurer Amélie Arnaudon and Gilbert Kistner. Also, in attendance was Kara C. McDonald, the Consul General of the United States of America in Strasbourg for the Great East region in France and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated and they had a wide-ranging discussion of maritime issues during which Consul General MacDonald stressed the importance of the Propeller Club of Strasbourg in helping her with maritime issues.