In December 1962, Rev. John Vandercook began to work with international seafarers in the Port of New Orleans, having seen the need for an evangelical ministry to seafarers. The next year, New Orleans Baptist Seamen's Service began. Rev. Vandercook began visiting ships on a regular basis. The downstairs of his home became the first seamen's center. Through meeting the physical and social needs of seafarers, the door was wide open to meet their greatest need - a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1964, this became a full-time ministry for Rev. Vandercook. In 1965, New Orleans Baptist Seamen's Service became a not-for-profit corporation. The ministry grew quickly under Rev. Vandercook's leadership. Thousands of seafarers from one hundred forty-one countries had the opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel message.

Through the Years

• The center moved from the Vandercook home to an abandoned church building in New Orleans East.

• Rev. John P. Vandercook retired after twenty-eight years of ministry. Rev. Philip Vandercook was named director.

• A second ministry center was opened in LaPlace, Louisiana, serving the Port of South Louisiana.

• The LaPlace center relocated to First Baptist Church of Reserve, Louisiana.

• The name of the ministry was changed to Global Maritime Ministries.

• The ministry center in New Orleans East was sold.
• The Tchoupitoulas Street property was purchased, directly across from the busiest part of the port.
• A new building was purchased in Reserve, Louisiana, establishing a permanent home in the Port of South Louisiana.

• The River Parishes Center was dedicated debt-free in Reserve, Louisiana.

• The ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new center. The center was named for Rev. John P. Vandercook.

• We were granted occupancy of the first floor of the new ministry center.

• The new ministry center on Tchoupitoulas Street was dedicated.

• The upstairs living quarters and assembly room were completed.

• The River Parishes Center was re-opened in Reserve, Louisiana after undergoing renovations.