United Seamen’s Service Salutes Mariners and Industry Leaders


December 2014


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SIU members were among the honorees at this year’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) event in New York City, hosted by the United Seamen’s Service (USS) on Nov. 7. Seafarers from the Cape Ray received a “special recognition” award for their role in successfully destroying more than 600 tons of chemical weapons from Syria, while mariners from the USNS Richard E. Byrd and Manukai were saluted for rescues at sea.


The AOTOS awards were presented to Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), who was introduced to the audience of several hundred by SIU President Michael Sacco; Joseph J. Cox, president and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA); and Frederick J. Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO and Bath Iron Works. Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wykle, USA (Ret.), president of the National Defense Transportation Association and chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee, also garnered an award thanking him for his years of dedicated service promoting the American maritime industry.


The Cape Ray, operated by SIU-contracted Keystone, spent months overseas for its high-profile mission that wrapped up in August. The crew and other shipboard personnel received accolades from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation as the mission ended, and they also were praised at a pier-side ceremony in Portsmouth, Virginia, in September.


The Byrd, part of the SIU Government Services Division fleet, rescued survivors from a Yemeni-flagged cargo vessel in the Gulf of Oman in late July, while the Matson-operated Manukai saved three people from a disabled sailboat 400 miles northeast of Oahu. The latter rescue happened in mid-August, after the sailboat had been battered by a hurricane.


In announcing the AOTOS honorees, Lt. Gen. Wykle said, “This year’s recipients represent greatly diverse sectors of the maritime industry. Stephen Cotton oversees a significant labor group whose mission is the wellbeing and fair treatment of the world’s seafarers. Joe Cox is well-regarded in international transportation circles and is greatly involved in safety issues. Fred Harris’ company has designed and built innovative tonnage for America’s sea-going fleet. We enjoyed a good turnout for these three gentlemen, including a large overseas attendance.”



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