Background

A Christian ministry presence has been ongoing in the Port for over 30 years. Tampa Port Ministries, Inc. was organized in October 2001 as a 501c3 non-profit religious ministry.

Chaplains have worked in the Port of Tampa for years individually but sought to build a cooperative relationship for the mutual benefit of the people they seek to serve.

Ministering to Florida’s Largest Port
Last year, The Tampa SeaFarers Center served thousands of seafarers that came to the Port of Tampa from countries all over the world. These international ships have crews from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Phillippines, Indonesia, India, China, Mexico, and many other countries. These seafarers are away from their families for at least 9 months and are often at sea for 3–4 month periods.

Each week, approximately 45 ships will visit the port, with an average crew of 12 to 35 seafarers on cargo vessels and 850 to 1000 on cruise ships. Their stay in port ranges from just a few hours to a few days. Ships utilizing our repair facilities will stay longer, sometimes as much as 2 months.

Most seafarers come from third-world countries and have left their families behind in order to provide for them financially in a way they could not do in their homeland.

They are lonely, in a strange land, and have limited ability to communicate with others. These are the needs that the Tampa Seafarers Center attempts to meet in the short time that these “strangers” are in our midst.