US shipping party brings a festive boost to Mercy Ships

Leading tanker players organize cocktail party fundraiser for hospital charity

A trio of top tanker owners teamed up in Houston, Texas, for a joint festive cocktail party, raising more than $36,000 for medical charity Mercy Ships.

Stena Bulk, AET and Teekay sponsored the event to raise awareness of Mercy Ships in the US. The charity operates the world’s largest civilian hospital vessel, the 16,572-gt Africa Mercy (built 1980).

About 300 people attended the event, including charterers, agents, shipbrokers and tugboat companies.

The idea of a joint celebration was hatched a couple of years ago but it did not seem appropriate after Hurricane Harvey hit the US Gulf in 2017, says JR Gardner, general manager and head of crude and fuel in the US for Stena Bulk.

Representatives of Phillips 66, ExxonMobil, Shell, DNB and Right- Ship, plus broking houses from the US and Europe, were just some of those in attendance.

Russ Holmes, Mercy Ships’ director of corporate development, was master of ceremonies for the gathering where company and personal donations were made.

A few uninvited guests were made welcome.

“We didn’t turn them away at the door, just asked them to make sure they stopped by the donation table in support of Mercy Ships,” Gardner said.

He added that it was “fantastic” for everyone to spend time together and at the same time “support a worthy cause”.

Stena Bulk, AET and Teekay agreed to remain “background sponsors” of the event.

“This was about Mercy Ships, not about us,” Gardner said. “I think it is such a noble cause. You have trained professionals spending years to become doctors and nurses, and then donating their time. They may help one person at a time, but that one person can then work and help their families.

It is definitely a ripple-effect organization and we are honored to be a part of it.”

Gardner is to chair a committee being set up in Houston to promote Mercy Ships Cargo Day, the shipping industry’s annual fundraising venture for the charity.

It is understood Eric Nagel, Teekay Shipping (USA)’s director for Atlantic aframax and global support services, and Ron Wood, AET’s global director of mid-size tanker chartering, are also joining the committee.

Currie Evans of broker BRS’ tanker desk in Houston will be among the committee, which will put Mercy Ships on the US shipping map. A Cargo Day committee already exists in Geneva, Switzerland.

The running total for Cargo Day in October 2018 has reached $817,000, including the donations from the Houston function.

“We are so thankful for this amazing result,” Cargo Day Communications Manager Corinne Kemp said.

The figure is well ahead of the $672,000 raised in 2017 — and it could rise. It means that the Cargo Day event has raised almost $2m for Mercy Ships in the three years since the fundraiser was launched.

More photos can be viewed here

 

January 11th, 2019 by Geoff Garfield

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