The new release below comes from the American Maritime Partnership, to which the SIU is affiliated.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, SIU members working aboard NY Waterway ferries evacuated more than 163,000 people from Manhattan. Some of the boats operated into the next morning in order to support emergency crews, and several SIU members rescued people who’d fallen from piers into the water (likely because of little or no visibility). They played a huge part in what has been identified as the largest marine evacuation in history.
American Maritime Honors 9/11 Victims and Commemorates Largest Maritime Rescue in History
NEW YORK CITY – The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) today proudly participated in a ceremony, vessel procession, and blessing of the fleet to honor the victims of 9/11 and recognize the largest maritime evacuation in history. During today’s event, dozens of vessels joined the New York Harbor procession, including private ships, ferries, and tugboats that participated in the 9/11 boatlift rescue on that tragic day. The boatlift procession was led by New York City Fire Boats that honored those lost and the contributions of American Maritime on 9/11 with a red, white and blue water cannon salute.
“A shining light on an otherwise dark and tragic day twenty years ago this week was the heroic response by American Maritime operators in New York Harbor who answered the call of the United States Coast Guard to spontaneously organize the evacuation of more than 500,000 Americans at the southern tip of Manhattan — an effort that took only nine hours and became the largest water evacuation in U.S. history. Within minutes of the call for help, American Maritime vessels of all shapes and sizes responded selflessly and ensured that the events on that fateful day were not even worse. The American Maritime Partnership remembers and mourns all Americans lost that day, and expresses its deepest gratitude to the men and women of American Maritime for their selfless response and service.” —The American Maritime Partnership
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz, and other officials participated in the ceremony as vessels passed Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty. The event commemorated the over half a million survivors ferried from lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 by American Maritime carriers and over 800 mariners. The event was hosted by the American Maritime Partnership, New York Council of the Navy League, Transportation Institute, Towboat and Harbor Carriers Association, Passenger Vessel Association, Port Authority of NY/NJ, Sandy Hook Pilots, and Seaman’s Church Institute.
ABOUT THE GREAT BOATLIFT OF 9/11:
- The “Boatlift” of 9/11 was the largest water evacuation in history. After road, tunnel, and railway closures out of New York City, over half a million people were stranded in lower Manhattan following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
- American Maritime transported over 500,000 survivors from lower Manhattan across the harbor to safety and the rescue was larger than the evacuation of 340,000 American-allied troops at Dunkirk.
- The rescue effort involved over 150 American Maritime vessels, including passenger ferries, tugboats, merchant ships, private vessels, and New York City Fire Department and Police Department boats.
- More than 800 American mariners participated in the Boatlift evacuation of September 11th.