Friday, July 8, 2016

Holland America Wins Seafarer of Year Award

By Mark Edward Nero

The captain and crew of Holland America Line’s Seattle-based cruise ship ms Veendam were named “Seafarer of the Year” at the 2016 Lloyd’s List North American Maritime Awards for the rescue of a pilot who ejected from his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean, Holland America said July 5.

The “Seafarer of the Year” award recognizes the skills, bravery and professionalism that seafarers demonstrate daily. On Jan. 25, 2015, Veendam rescued a pilot 225 miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, who had to ditch his single-engine aircraft after running out of fuel.

The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.

Holland America Line received the award at a ceremony in New York. Lloyd’s List called Veendam’s award one of the “stand-out moments of the gala dinner.”

“Whenever the crew of a vessel are actively involved in a rescue it shows the capabilities and the humanity of the profession,” said Sander Wielemaker, an area manager for award sponsor DNV GL, an international certification body and classification society. “The master and crew, through coordination with the authorities, were able to save the life of the individual and no doubt add a moment of out-of-the-ordinary excitement for the passengers of the cruise ship.”

“To be honored for saving a life is both humbling and rewarding,” Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford said.

Holland America Line has said it participates in rescues at sea whenever called upon. Also in 2015, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, while ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

Also during the awards, Crowley Maritime was named ocean-going ship operator of the year, and the Alaska Prevention & Response Network received the “Safer, Cleaner Seas Award.”

The full list of awardees can be seen at