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U.S. Coast Guard Honors NCL and Holland America for Environmental Excellence

SAN DIEGO - – The Coast Guard’s Pacific Area Commander, Vice Adm. Manson Brown (Left), presents Capt. Minas Myrtidis, the vice president of Fleet Regulatory Compliance of Norwegian Cruise Lines with the gold award at the 2010 William M. Benkert Awards Presentation Dec. 6, 2010. The Benkert Award is a national award that recognizes companies that exude environmental maritime excellence. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Allyson E.T. Conroy.

In a historic move, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded its prestigious Gold William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Protection Award to Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.

This biennial award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards.  This is the first time major cruise lines have been awarded the Gold Benkert award.

“We can all take pride in how far our industry has come over the last decade,” said John Binkley, President of the Alaska Cruise Association. “We lead the world in responsible and innovative marine conservation.”

Holland America will send seven ships to Alaska next season and Norwegian two.

Rear Admiral William Benkert is considered by many to be the father of the U.S. Coast Guard’s marine safety and environmental protection mission.  Captain Minas Myrtidis, Norwegian’s vice president of fleet regulatory compliance, accepted the award last Monday at a reception in San Diego, California.

“We are honored to have the U. S. Coast Guard bestow on us such a high honor in environmental practices and standards,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer.  “Norwegian takes extreme pride in the measures we go to in order to protect the waters on which we sail and the environments of the ports where our ships call.”

SAN DIEGO – The Coast Guard’s Pacific Area Commander, Vice Adm. Manson Brown (Left), presents William “Bill” Morani, Jr., the vice president of Safety and Environmental management systems with Holland America out of Seattle, with the gold award at the2010 William M. Benkert Awards Presentation Dec. 6, 2010. The Benkert Award is a national award that recognizes companies that exude environmental maritime excellence. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Allyson E.T. Conroy.

William “Bill” Morani, Jr., the vice president of Safety and Environmental management systems with Holland America, accepted the award on behalf of Holland America Line.

“We work diligently every day to reduce Holland America Line’s ecological footprint, and these awards validate our fleetwide efforts,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “We are grateful that the U.S. Coast Guard and our travel industry and seaport partners appreciate our commitment to the environment and have recognized our dedication to environmental stewardship with these awards.”

Holland America is a leader in environmental initiatives in the cruise industry with its comprehensive approach to managing impacts and reducing its overall carbon footprint. The line’s Environmental Management System was certified in 2006 and recertified in 2009.

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