The Seafarers International Union joins with the multitude of other organizations and individuals who are mourning the passing of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. At the same time, we look back with great affection, respect and appreciation for Senator Inouye’s decades of friendship.
Next year will mark the SIU’s 75th anniversary. In all that time, we’ve had no greater ally than Senator Inouye.
SIU President Michael Sacco stated, “Senator Inouye’s record of service to our country is worthy of an entire book, so there’s no way to do it justice in a few sentences. But I want everyone to know that the Senator was a true champion of the U.S. Merchant Marine. In the last 50 years, no one in Congress has been a greater, more influential friend to the maritime industry. His efforts were critical to every piece of maritime legislation enacted in that time. His support of the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, cargo preference and other vital maritime initiatives has been invaluable. He also was instrumental in the rebirth of the U.S.-flag cruise industry in Hawaii.”
The SIU president added, “I’m sure most people know that Senator Inouye is a true American hero – a World War II veteran who received the nation’s highest medal, the Medal of Honor, for his courage and leadership on the battlefield. Throughout his distinguished career in Congress, Senator Inouye has been no less passionate in promoting and defending the interests of working families. He is someone I will always respect and admire. He is someone I’m proud to have called a friend, and someone I’m so very grateful to have had on our side.”
Senator Inouye, who died Dec. 17 at age 88 due to respiratory complications, was an honorary SIU member. Throughout the years, he received virtually every award the American maritime industry presents, including the prestigious Admiral of the Ocean Sea award.
He started serving the people of Hawaii in 1959 (the year the islands received statehood) as a member of Congress before being elected to the Senate in 1962. He was re-elected every six years thereafter, becoming the second-longest serving member in U.S. history. He most recently was elected in 2010.