(Pictured left to right: Chaplain Steve Finnesy stands at the welcome sign of the port’s new International Seafarers Center, which was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Immediately following the ribbon cutting, left to right: Hank Ennis; Bart Azzarelli; Peter Baker (all Tampa Port Ministries board members); 44-year seafarers’ center volunteer Irv Johnson; Port President and CEO Paul Anderson; Chaplain Steve Finnesy; Wade Elliott, TPM board member and VP marketing, Port Tampa Bay.)Port Tampa Bay has announced that Tampa Port Ministries, which has long provided an array of onshore services to international seaman, opened its new facility on the port on Tuesday.

The new Tampa Seafarers Center was opened with a dedication and ribbon cutting by Tampa Port Ministries (TPM) Chaplain Steve Finnesy, executive director of the center; Paul Anderson, port president and CEO; Irv Johnson, 44-year volunteer TPM volunteer; board members Hank Ennis; Bart Azzarelli; Peter Baker and Wade Elliott, who is also the port’s vice president of marketing.  The nonprofit center operates through financial donations, as well as the time and talents of a cadre of volunteers from around the community.

The center, which relocated to Shoreline Drive from its long-time location on Eastport Drive, provides services such as ground transportation and communications for seamen working ocean-going vessels from around the world, as well as an environment that provides social and spiritual enrichment and fellowship.

“We at Tampa Port Ministries and the Seafarers Center are so happy to see this opening, as it is the direct result of so much effort and care from many people and the leadership of our board and the port community,” said Steve Finnesy said.

Finnesy works with volunteers and the port to ensure that the funds and in-kind services are in place each year in order to keep the center a viable and successful component of the state’s largest port.

“For many years, the Tampa Seafarers’ Center has provided important services to seamen worldwide, representing the gamut of shipping lines and maritime operations. Ship workers and seafarers are the backbone of the maritime industry. The seafarers’ center is truly our best foot forward and our welcome mat to countless ocean-going men and women of many cultures, faiths and vocations, and it’s exciting to see this new, modern center open today that will continue to provide and care for them,” commented Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president & CEO.