Port of Oakland Extends Rent-Free Lease for Sailors' Getaway

Nearly 5,000 sailors arrive here each year on container ships.

The Oakland IMC is one of approximately 300 Seafarerís Clubs worldwide supporting merchant mariners during their stay in the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Area.

Published: January, 2018


Nearly 5,000 sailors arrive here each year on container ships. The Port of Oakland has ensured that they’ll continue to find temporary respite from the sea.


Port commissioners last week extended for five years a rent-free lease with Oakland’s International Maritime Center. The center provides everything from shopping sprees to billiards for visiting mariners whose stays last 24 hours or less.  It even offers spiritual care through the Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate, Apostleship of the Sea, Korean Presbyterian and others.


The new agreement keeps the doors open at the center’s 20-year-old office module in Outer Harbor. It also extends a 50-year tradition of providing sailors a landside Oakland getaway. “Our role is to recognize and appreciate the contributions of seafarers and shipping to the Bay Area,” International Maritime Center Director John Claassen said. “We provide a safe space for the seafarers and the port community to just take a break.”


Claassen said the center’s 2017 Oakland report card includes:


387 visits by clergy or volunteers to ships berthed at port;

1,500 visiting sailors at the center; and

shopping excursions to East Bay retailers for 766 seafarers.


“We even took a sea captain to Sequoyah Country Club for a round of golf,” said Claassen. He also said many sailors, lonely after months at sea, use the center’s facilities to call loved ones back home.


The port’s lease covers 0.2 acres of land near Ben E. Nutter marine terminal. The building is owned by the operators of the International Maritime Center. For more information, contact the center at imcbayarea.org.