SCI's Center for Seafarers’ Rights evolves to meet the needs of mariners

Feb 11, 2019

The Seamen’s Church Institute’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights (CSR) is a world leader in advocacy for merchant mariners, providing professional legal services, training, and advocacy for seafarers and those who serve them around the globe. CSR’s roots date back to SCI’s inception in the 1800s. When it was established in 1982, CSR’s mission was primarily to uphold the rights of seafarers who at that time often suffered unfair treatment at the hands of shipowners, and could be subject to poor conditions aboard ship.

Thankfully, through CSR’s and others’ efforts over the years, such problems have diminished, although CSR still sees its fair share of cases involving pay disputes, denial of medical care, shore leave restrictions and other work-related disputes. Over the years, however, the Center’s focus has expanded to include broader seafarer well-being issues such as maritime security, physical and mental health, and the effects of potentially traumatic events such as piracy attacks on crews. 

Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., the Director of CSR since 1990, is stepping down from his role at the end of June 2019. As SCI seeks his successor, the Center for Seafarers’ Rights will become the Mariner Advocacy Center (MAC), to reflect the wider scope of activity encompassed by this program.

Seafarers’ rights remain high on SCI’s agenda, including the wellbeing of mariners on the inland waterways system, and the new title better captures this. In addition to making regular ship visits, the new Director will continue the work started by Doug, conducting research, collaborating with chaplains worldwide, investigating seafarer complaints, interacting with international governing authorities and corporate maritime executives, and providing thought leadership to enhance the quality of life for mariners in Port Newark, on America’s inland waterways, and around the world.

As SCI looks to the future, CSR’s legacy of upholding seafarer rights is a fitting foundation upon which to build a rich program of support for mariners at sea and on America’s inland waterways.

To view the position description for the Director, Mariner Advocacy Center, download the PDF below, or visit

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