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Holland America Line Wins ‘Seafarer of the Year’ Award from Lloyd’s List for ms Veendam’s Rescue of Pilot from Pacific Ocean

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Ship’s captain and crew recognized at 2016 Maritime Awards for humanitarianism

July 5, 2016 — At the 2016 Lloyd’s List North American Maritime Awards, the captain and crew of Holland America Line’s ms Veendam were named “Seafarer of the Year” for the rescue of a pilot who ejected from his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean. Holland America Line received the award at a ceremony in New York in May.

The “Seafarer of the Year” award recognizes the skills, bravery and professionalism that seafarers demonstrate daily. On Jan. 25, 2015, Veendam rescued a pilot 225 miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, who had to ditch his single-engine aircraft after running out of fuel. The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.

“Holland America Line employees consistently strive for professional and personal excellence, and to be honored for saving a life is both humbling and rewarding,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “On behalf of Veendam’s captain and crew, thank you to Lloyd’s List for bestowing the honor of ‘Seafarer of the Year,’ a recognition we greatly appreciate.”

“The officers and crew performed exceptionally well and made a dramatic rescue – I am very proud of the Veendam team,” added Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations, Holland America Group, and retired Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard. “This rescue is a great reminder of the commitment all of us at Holland America Line, our sister brands and the cruise industry have in supporting rescue efforts at sea when we are near.”

Lloyd’s List called Veendam’s award one of the “stand-out moments of the gala dinner.”

You can see a Coast Guard video of the entire event here.