US Merchant Marine veterans, current seafarers and maritime industry stakeholders gathered on Friday 20 May 20 to commemorate National Maritime Day in the Port of Duluth- Superior.

Mike Piskur, programme manager for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, delivered the luncheon’s keynote address:“Bringing out the Best in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Maritime System.” His remarks highlighted the Conference’s first-ever regional maritime transportation system strategy — a strategy to double trade, build new markets, support the region’s industrial core and grow its economy.

The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers is a non-partisan partnership of eight US States and two Canadian Provinces — chief executivesfromIllinois,Indiana,Michigan,Minnesota,NewYork,Ohio,Pennsylvania,Wisconsin,OntarioandQue´bec. Piskurmanages the Conference’s work on maritime transportation, aquatic invasive species and water use data. He also co-ordinates the Conference’s public communications and government relations. Through the Conference, the Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $5 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water.

National Maritime Day honours the historic and ongoing service and sacrifice of our nation’s Merchant Marine and celebrates the contributions of the US maritime industry. The commemorative event, which commences with the presentation of colours and a short memorial service to honour those seafarers, is hosted locally by the Propeller Club of Duluth- Superior. This year’s event in Duluth was held in advance of the official date of 22 May.

National Maritime Day is a time- honoured tradition that recognizes America’s Merchant Marine for their legacy of service and sacrifice, safeguarding the nation and its trade corridors during times of war and peace. It traces its history to 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt, with Congressional support, set aside May 22 as National Maritime Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the sailing of the first steamship, the SS Savannah, in 1819 from its homeport in Savannah, Georgia to Liverpool, England, signalling the start of an era of American technological leadership. In the later 20th century, the day overwhelmingly became a celebration of the Merchant Marines. Today, National Maritime Day is observed across the country as a combined salute to merchant mariners, veterans and the entire maritime industry, focusing attention on the importance of maritime and its value to America’s economy, national security, balance of trade and quality of life.