PORT ARTHUR, Texas – The South East Texas Waterways Advisory Council (SETWAC) was recognized as the National Harbor Safety Committee of the Year at the 12th Annual National Harbor Safety Conference in Tampa, Florida last Friday.
Local SETWAC board members Sheriff Mitch Woods and Chief Deputy Ron Hobbs, along with SETWAC Executive Secretary Jackie Rice and Houston-based board members Tom Marian and Niels Aalund accepted the award on behalf of the other 24 members of the committee. The award was presented by Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard.
In the award presentation, Allen cited the SETWAC for its facilitation of maritime community cooperation to restore normal waterway traffic after the passage of Hurricane Ike, and for its proactive responses to the threats of Hurricanes Edouard and Gustav. He further cited SETWAC for their initiative in the removal of derelict and abandoned vessels from the waterway, and its emphasis on seaman’s welfare issues associated with restricted facility and shore-leave access in a post-Sept. 11, 2001, heightened security environment.
The SETWAC Harbor Safety Committee serves as a stakeholder advisory board to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. J. J. Plunkett, in Port Arthur. It also provides a public forum to facilitate discussion and exchange ideas among marine industry stakeholders on a wide range of marine related issues relating to the Sabine and Neches Rivers, home of the inland waterway ports of Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange, and Sabine Pass – the fifth largest port complex in the United States.
The selection of the Harbor Safety of the Year Award is determined by nomination and consensus vote of the National Harbor Safety Conference national membership. Other harbor safety committees nominated for this year’s award included harbor safety organizations from the Port of New York/New Jersey, the Port of San Francisco, the Port of Seattle, the Port of Puget Sound and the Port of Tampa.