Lake Charles Stevedores working to get food aid moving

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Food from as far as Washington state is in Lake Charles to be loaded onto an American cargo ship that is headed to West Africa.

The M/V Sheila McDevitt will carry 28,000 tons of rice, lentils, cornmeal and other goods provided under guidance from the

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Ship Captain Max Stovall, a 34-year maritime professional, said it will take 12 days to load the ship before it leaves the

Port of Lake Charles.

He is proud to captain a vessel with a American flag, “especially since there aren’t many around any more. The industry has

lots of foreign companies.”

The Sheila McDevitt sails under an American flag and is operated by American officers and crew.

“We have gone to ports in North Korea, East Africa and Sri Lanka. Transporting food like this is very rewarding. You get to

appreciate what the life we have in America when visiting other countries,” Stovall said.

Lake Charles Stevedores and United Ocean Services worked together to get the goods to the port and loaded.

“United Ocean Services, the owner of

the vessel, together with Phoenix Chartering, made the commitment to

bring the vessel

to the Port of Lake Charles based on their relationship with Lake

Charles Stevedores and the reputation of the port for safe,

efficient and speedy cargo handling,” Tom Flanagan, president of

the Stevedores stated in a press release.

The job will create 125 jobs for longshoremen at the port, according to company officials.

Sheila McDevitt, United Ocean Services manger of chartering, stated in a press release that the company is pleased to work

with Lake Charles shippers.

“United Ocean Services consistently seeks new, creative and efficient markets for its U.S. Flag Fleet and is proud of the

mutual collaboration with Lake Charles Stevedores and the Port of Lake Charles, which enabled both parties to successfully

secure the largest breakbulk shipment of food aid loading from the USG (United States government) in several years.”

Rice was provided by Farmers Rice Mill, Louisiana Rice Mill and Beaumont Rice Mill. Beans, peas and cornmeal were sent from

mills in Abiline, Kan., Williston, N. D., Chinook, Mont., and the Spokane valley in Wash.

The Sheila McDevitt is a bulk carrier that was built in 1980.