The annual Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) awards dinner returns to an in-person format this year, and one of the three main honorees is especially well-known to Seafarers.
SIU Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel has been named by the United Seamen’s Service (USS) as an AOTOS recipient, along with Maersk Line, Limited President and CEO Bill Woodhour and Chamber of Shipping of America President and CEO Kathy Metcalf.
The traditional silver statuette of Christopher Columbus – the first Admiral of the Ocean Sea – will be accepted by the three honorees Dec. 3 in New York City.
A special AOTOS Award will also be presented to Tony Naccarato, president and chairman of the American Maritime Officers Service, a Washington- based association comprised of some of the largest American-flag maritime companies. The aforementioned recipients will share the evening with a group of American seafarers who will be honored for acts of bravery at sea.
LTG Kenneth R. Wykle, USA, (Ret.), chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee, noted, “With such deserving recipients, we are pleased to continue the rich 52-year history of this prestigious event.”
He added, “Dave Heindel is an esteemed labor leader and a true friend to USS; Kathy Metcalf has brought a solid background in maritime affairs to her role at the Chamber, and Bill Woodhour now leads the important American-flag division of Maersk.”
The AOTOS Award has been presented for 52 consecutive years, including 2020 when the pandemic dictated a virtual event. COVID-19 also did not stop the industry from fulfilling its collective role as part of the nation’s essential workforce, the USS pointed out when announcing this year’s awards.
“Despite the pandemic, the American maritime industry – management and labor – continued moving and handling world commerce despite the personal risk and danger presented by COVID-19 globally,” said Wykle. “We are expecting the industry to turn out to honor this year’s leaders and the brave seafarers who will also be recognized at the event.”
Proceeds from the AOTOS event benefit USS community services abroad for the U.S. Merchant Marine, seafarers of all nations, and U.S. government and military overseas.