Holland America Receives Rescue at Sea Award

The captain and crew of Holland America Line’s ms Veendam were honored recently by the Association for Rescue at Sea with a AFRAS AMVER Award for the 2015 rescue of a pilot who ditched his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System was implemented by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1958, and the AMVER Awards were created in 1971 to recognize vessels that participate in the program.

Holland America Line received the award at the annual Coast Guard Award Ceremony Sept. 21, 2016, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Veendam’s Captain Eric van der Wal accepted the honor on behalf of the cruise line. 

“The pilot rescue in the Pacific Ocean is a proud moment in our company history, and we are honored to receive the AFRAS AMVER Award from the Association for Rescue at Sea,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We are proud to support the AMVER motto, ‘No Call for Help Goes Unanswered,’ and on behalf of Veendam’s captain and crew we thank you for the recognition.”

The ceremony was hosted by California Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation, with additional members of Congress and the Vice Commandant, Adm. Charles D. Michel, of the United States Coast Guard and his senior staff also in attendance. 

This was the third rescue at sea by a Holland America Line ship in 2015. On Jan. 3, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crew members from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, and on Jan. 4 ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crew members at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

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