Articles From the September 1994 Unification News


The History of the Oceanic Providence

by Michael Runyon-Washington, DC

This is taken from the address given on August 1, 1994 at Belvedere for the 20th Anniversary Oceanic Providence Celebration Ceremony.

On August 1, 1974, Father announced the official beginning of the Oceanic Providence. At that time we had just purchased two boats: the "Flying Phoenix" and the "New Hope."

With the opening of the International Training Center here at Belvedere in 1973, and the Day of Hope tours throughout America, Father would find time from his whirlwind schedule to go down to the Hudson River to learn the kinds of fish there-laying the groundwork for the oceanic providence.

After the purchase of the New Hope boat in 1974, Father began fishing out of Freeport, Long Island in the Atlantic Ocean, challenging the abundant bluefish, fluke and small tuna there. During this period he set a record of 160 bluefish caught in one day.

Father never went out merely fishing for himself. From the early days in Korea he recognized how the vast resources of the ocean could contribute in a unique way to God's providence.

In America, Father established a rigorous regimen of spending long hours at sea while ceaselessly developing and experimenting with new techniques to catch fish.

Many fishermen go out to fish casually, but not Father. He would leave East Garden for the ocean as early as 2:00 am and return at midnight. So determined and serious was his heart and mind toward establishing the Oceanic Providence in America.

After conquering the various species of fish around New York, Father went to Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1975 to challenge the giant bluefin tuna, which sometimes weigh over 1,000 lbs.

Father kept the same arduous schedule-leaving for the fishgrounds before daybreak and staying out in rough seas, cold rain and life- threatening storms to accomplish his goals.

The first 21 days of fishing off the Massachusetts coast were very difficult and other boats treated the "New Hope" suspiciously and sometimes with derision. But Father persisted-for he knew God's heart and love for the ocean. He formulated new techniques for catching tuna and while he waited for a fish to strike, he would often pray-so serious was his desire to lay the foundation for the ocean providence.

Then, on the 22nd day of that first year, the first giant bluefin tuna was caught by Father. By 1979 Father was catching a record of 36 tunas in one season. Father soon became a legend in Gloucester, attracting other boats who now wanted to learn his techniques.

Even the media, which was usually cynical and derisive toward Father, later began to write favorably about his fishing exploits. The "National Fisherman," America's most widely-read and prestigious fishing magazine, featured a front-page story, entitled "A Day Trip with Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Tuna Fleet."

The magazine dispatched a reporter to Gloucester to go out on a Good Go boat with two members in the Ocean Challenge Program. The magazine story detailed Father's fishing techniques with many pictures, including one that showed a baited hook and the caption:

"This is one of the Rev. Moon's preferred baits. Father had clearly set the standard for catching bluefin tuna.

From Father's vision, determination, and many lonely hours at sea came the foundation for our oceanic businesses. I would like to mention some of them.

In 1976, Father founded International Oceanic Enterprises in Norfolk, Virginia with Dr. Bo Hi Pak as president working with several elder American brothers. Inspired by Father's tradition, IOE members would have to persevere through many hard times in order to eventually become the largest of our oceanic enterprises in America.

From Norfolk, IOE expanded to Gloucester, to Alaska and Alabama, to California and Seattle, Washington. In 1989, Mr. Johnson Choi, who pioneered the Oceanic Providence in Alaska, became president of IOE.

Today, the IOE is one of the larger seafood companies in America, and in 1992 Mr. Sang Kwon Park became its president and is now guiding the many oceanic businesses toward greater productivity.

IOE processes lobster and tuna in Gloucester, shrimp in Alabama, salmon, pollack, cod, sole and halibut in Alaska-you name it-and distributes throughout America as well as exporting to Japan and other countries.

At the same time that IOE began operations in 1976, a group of Japanese members started wholesaling fish products in the New York area to restaurants. This business quickly expanded and today is called New York Fishhouse, one of the best-known wholesalers on the East Coast.

Then in 1977, members inspired by True Parents' love for the ocean, and respect for fishermen, founded U.S. Marine Corporation to own and build commercial fishing vessels.

In Alabama, a subsidiary, Master Marine, has built over 100 world- class steel fishing vessels and does repair work for the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers, as well as for commercial fishermen. They have sold boats for use in major seaports on all coasts of America as well as for Brazil, Congo, Nigeria and Guinea.

In 1987, Master Marine built an 85-foot fiberglass trawler, the largest of its kind, called "One Ocean." This unique boat, designed by Father, is part of the fleet in Kodiak, Alaska today.

Members who started out as deckhands on other boats are now licensed captains on our own fishing boats, which have fished in all oceans surrounding America. A fleet of 85- to 100-foot trawling vessels work the waters of Alaska and are some of the top-producing boats there.

Our largest vessel is a 220-foot factory trawler with state-of-the-art technology operating in the Bering Sea. It catches, processes and delivers its product at sea with a crew of 50 people working in shifts around the clock, processing up to 100 tons or over 200,000 lbs. of finished product per day.

The U.S. government also charters our Alaskan boats for ocean research.

It is important to know that many of these hard-working members had little experience in catching, processing, distributing or marketing seafood when we began. And often, in towns like Gloucester, Bayou La Batre and Kodiak, we faced stiff opposition from local residents. They threw stones and eggs, cut brake lines, and rezoned commercial properties to residential use, forcing us into court-where we eventually won.

The media would follow us everywhere. Investigative programs like award-winning "60 Minutes" came to Gloucester, and NBC and CBS Evening News came to Alabama. Local and national politicians tried to advance their careers investigating us. Most of them are now gone, while we remain.

During these times of persecution-and even though we made many mistakes-True Parents always encouraged us to keep going. True Parents had absolute faith and confidence in the ocean providence. They never wavered. Because of their sacrifice, their love of God and humanity, we were able to prevail.

Furthermore, we did this as an international community, Koreans, Japanese, North and South Americans, Europeans and Africans, working together under our True Parents' teachings.

Eventually, the persecution subsided, as towns welcomed us because we were good citizens and honest businessmen. The media began to change from attacking to respecting us. For example, "Pacific Fishing" magazine, in 1989, ran a story which began: "Those in the seafood industry know the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his followers well. For a decade, businesses run by members of the Unification Church have turned up in seaports from New England to the Gulf of Mexico to Kodiak, Alaska. The church is linked to boatyards, state-of-the-art processors, and even seafood restaurant(s)...."

In 1980 and '81, Father founded Ocean Church and Ocean Challenge. True Parents had long recognized that the ocean offers a unique training experience not only to develop boating and fishing skills, but to provide an opportunity to overcome personal limitations, to persevere in the face of adversity and difficult conditions-and to develop patience and teamwork.

What better way is there to learn unity than when a 900-lb. tuna swallows your bait and starts pulling your small boat all over the place. Finally, Father knew that the majesty of the ocean gives one an unforgettable experience with the living God.

Father himself tirelessly trained many young people in fishing and ocean skills in Gloucester and along the Hudson River at the Unification Theological Seminary. He taught students how to catch carp and the art of net-making.

This tradition of ocean training continues today as Father invites many scholars, religious leaders and international guests to Alaska to experience first-hand the Oceanic Providence.

Ocean Challenge now trains over 100 people each summer. In order to fulfill the ocean challenge program, Father himself designed the now- famous 28-foot Good Go Boats, which were built by Master Marine in New York. These boats were based on Father's many years of fishing experience.

Working around the clock under the guidance of Mr. Takeru Kamiyama, 136 boats were built in record time from 1980 to 1981 and they are still being built now in New Jersey. They are unsinkable and are adaptable to all kinds of fisheries.

The prestigious "National Fisherman" magazine had this to say about Ocean Challenge in a 1984 article: "Since 1981, some 300 selected members of the Unification Church have received temporary assignments in Gloucester, Mass., for up to three months of seasonal tuna fishing. These young men and women are the future leaders of the Unification Church of America. And the testing and training program in Gloucester is the personal project of Rev. Sun Myung Moon."

With this program established and Father's fishing tradition now inspiring our members all over the world, twelve Japanese members came to Seattle in 1983 and founded the Shining Ocean Company, which produces, with leading-edge technology, imitation crabmeat products that are sold in major supermarket chains under the "Kanimi" brand name.

In 1985 other Japanese members came to America and opened Japanese restaurants, almost 100 in all. With their love for and knowledge of fish, Japanese members have made an invaluable contribution to the Oceanic Providence.

One of Father's primary goals in exploring the ocean is to alleviate world hunger. Now, inspired by this goal, International Seafood of Alaska under the direction of Mr. Koo Bae Park is pioneering the production of dried fish protein into an economical fish powder that can be sent to Third World countries where hunger is so devastating. We are conducting this program with the assistance and encouragement of the U.S. government.

There are many other ocean-related ventures, too numerous to detail today in full, like the Elizabeth, N.J. Seaport Center, the Los Angeles distribution and processing facility, the San Francisco seafood companies, the Ocean Challenge Program in Los Angeles for at- risk youth-all of these inspired by True Parents' vision and example.

In 1988 Father announced the expansion of the Oceanic Providence to the world level. Already, Il Seung in Korea is building boats, Happy World in Japan is wholesaling and distributing seafood, and Australia has purchased a fishing vessel, to name just a few of the worldwide oceanic activities. There is not enough time to cover everything.

However, I do want to note that as Father has pioneered the vast potential of the ocean, Mother would always be there too. Indeed, while traveling in Alaska with Father, Mother fished for salmon in the many streams and rivers near Kodiak, and soon she was catching trophy- size salmon. Mother would even accompany Father to remote fishing areas where there was no electricity and only dirty trailers to live in.

To pioneer the Oceanic Providence, True Parents endured many harsh living conditions and lonely circumstances, yet they always practiced True Love, giving more than anyone else.

Finally I want to recount one more episode that happened back here on the Hudson River last year. True Parents' grandson Shin Won Nim, at about five years of age, began to accompany Father on his many fishing trips for striped bass, leaving with him early in the morning.

One member on Father's boat told me that "through rough seas, rain and cold weather, Shin Won Nim never complained or got upset." Truly, he has inherited Father's spirit!

From today onward, I hope that we can all inherit this spirit of True Parents and True Family and write many new chapters ourselves in the ocean providence history.


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