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 byVeendam.
“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.”
“Whenever the crew of a vessel is actively involved in a rescue it shows the capabilities and the humanity of the profession,” saidSander Wielemaker, Atlantic area manager DNV GL, sponsors of the award. “The master and crew, through coordination with the authorities, were able to save the life of the individual and no doubt add a moment of out-of-the-ordinary excitement for the passengers of the cruise ship.”
Holland America Line participates in rescues at sea whenever called upon. Also in 2015, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, while ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.