The U.S. Department of Transportation issued the following news release and accompanying photo on Nov. 1, 2019.
SIU President Michael Sacco introduced Secretary Chao at the ceremony. He described her as “one of the strongest champions our industry has ever known…. She not only understands American maritime, but also truly cares about the American worker. She is a tremendous leader and is universally respected, admired and trusted throughout our industry.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Receives Prestigious U.S. Maritime Industry Award
NEW YORK – Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao received the Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Award based on her career-long commitment to the maritime industry. The AOTOS Award is given in recognition of individuals and organizations who have shown outstanding support for American seafarers and the maritime industry of the United States of America.
“I am honored to have my work over the years recognized by such a distinguished organization and audience. I understand very well the sacrifices that merchant mariners experience. The men and women in this industry are heroes; I am proud of them and work hard to support them,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
One of Secretary Chao’s most impressive achievements has been to work with Congress to finally obtain funding for the first new purpose-built training ships in nearly 50 years. The National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV) will be built in the U.S. and will replace a pair of ships with a combined age of 110 years. The NSMV will have modern capabilities that will enhance training and allow them to better perform missions during national emergencies.
Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Transportation is doing its part to strengthen America’s maritime community. In December 2018, DOT’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants directed over $230 million for projects that will benefit America’s ports. In 2019, Secretary Chao announced nearly $20 million in Small Shipyards Grants for 28 U.S. small shipyards and announced nine new Marine Highway Projects that were eligible to apply for $7 million of Marine Highway grants this year.
“Secretary Elaine L. Chao has worked hard to advance the U.S. maritime industry,” said Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby, the Administrator of the Maritime Administration. “Secretary Chao has been a staunch defender of the U. S. flag merchant marine fleet. She has defended the budget of the Maritime Administration, and many of its policies in the interagency process. Today, we congratulate Secretary Chao on receiving the Admiral of the Ocean Sea Award which is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards in the maritime industry.”
This is Secretary Chao’s second Cabinet post. Secretary Chao served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2001-January 2009. She is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet in American history. Secretary Chao began her executive career in public service working on transportation and trade issues at the White House. She then served as Deputy Maritime Administrator, U. S. Department of Transportation; Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; and, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, she is a strong advocate for safety, and the importance of infrastructure and innovation in our nation’s economic competitiveness and growth.