Four people symbolic of those in the frontline of the massive waterfront rescue and evacuation operation, which followed the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001, are the recipients of the James E. McGuire Safety Award.
International Registries, Inc. presented the awards at a dinner in Reston, Virginia, near Washington D.C. on 15 October 2002. In attendance were leaders of the international maritime community, distinguished members of the United States Coast Guard
(USCG) and other government agencies, and members of the Marshall Islands Quality Council.
The recipients of the awards were:
Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis, USCG (Ret.), Captain of the Port of New York on September 11, 2001, directed the evacuation by water of over half-a-million people, and led the subsequent security and recovery efforts. Admiral Bennis was recently appointed Associate Under Secretary of Transportation for Maritime and Land Security at the Transport Security Administration.
Robert H. Pouch, Director of the Board of Commissioners of Pilots of the State of New York, was honoured for his heroic actions on behalf of the many pilots, apprentice pilots and staff who helped to provide communications, command and control services and relief supplies at the disaster scene. He also assisted the USCG in the mobilisation of a fleet of small vessels for the evacuation.
Captain Mark Philipps, an owner of VIP Yacht Cruises, Inc., which operates a fleet of luxury dinner yachts, four of which took part in the emergency evacuation of lower Manhattan, assisted with the rescue and recovery efforts by transporting relief supplies to Ground Zero. For more than four weeks after the tragedy, VIP Yacht Cruises, Inc. continued to assist by transporting family members of emergency workers to Ground Zero to pay their final respects. Captain Philipps commanded the ROMANTICA on 9/11.
Captain Jerry Grandinetti, Captain of VIP Yacht Cruise's EXCALIBUR, worked continuously for days, without rest, to support the evacuation and humanitarian effort at the World Trade Center marina. He was also instrumental in transporting rescue equipment, food and water to Ground Zero.
Speaking at the dinner, Clay Maitland, managing partner of IRI, said that a huge number of people had been involved in the waterfront rescue and recovery operation, and it had been hard to pick just a few to honour. "The four recipients are symbolic of the ingenuity, courage and professionalism that was displayed on that horrendous day by people at all levels."
The McGuire Award is given to individuals and organizations, which by their leadership make a significant contribution to maritime safety and protection of the oceans. The award is in memory of the late James E. McGuire, former Director of Marine Safety at International Registries, Inc.