Norman Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, presented one of two United Seamen's Service 2002
Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Awards to Tom Crowley Jr.
, Chairman, President and CEO of Crowley Maritime
, Friday night before some 900 people at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
An AOTOS award was also presented to Capt. Timothy A. Brown, President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO.
The AOTOS award, the maritime industry's most prestigious recognition, honors those within the shipping industry who have made significant
contributions to American shipping and American Seafarers. The men were chosen from among a group, which was solicited by USS from more than 160 maritime management, labor, and government officials.
"I've always thought of this award as honoring a lifetime of achievement in the maritime industry," said Crowley in his acceptance speech. " I think about the people who have received this honor before - certainly my father
in 1988, Malcom McLean in 1984 and many others. These are people who devoted
much of their lives to this industry, were pioneers and accomplished some
very amazing things. Toward the end of their long and distinguished
careers, this very fine organization would put them in a tuxedo and
recognize them for what they've done."
"I hope you're not trying to tell me something by giving me this award now"
Crowley quipped. "Please don't count me out quite yet. I've got a ways to
go. Our company is on the verge of some very exciting things."
Crowley praised company employees throughout his acceptance speech.
"What our company has accomplished over the years would not have been
possible without our thousands of dedicated Crowley employees around the
world," he said. "Their commitment to excellence, record of accomplishment
and loyalty to the company, allow me to stand before you tonight to accept
Crowley also thanked the many unions, with which the company works, for
their support and cooperation through the years.
"By working together, we have been able to pursue mutually beneficial
business opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible," he said
"And by mutually beneficial, I mean we created jobs for our employees and
made profits to reinvest in the business. For that, I salute all of you."
Crowley also evoked the memory of his late father, Thomas B. Crowley, Sr.,
who won the AOTOS award in 1988.
"If my father were here today, he would be hitting us all with a baseball
bat saying what the hell is happening to the Jones Act. There is no question
now that the last chance for the survival for the US merchant marine is
right here in our own backyard," Crowley said. "We must all work together to
ensure that the Jones Act is preserved. I truly believe, and I was trained
by one of the best, that this is the last chance for the US Merchant
All proceeds from the AOTOS awards banquet benefit USS community services
abroad for the U.S. merchant marine.
The USS promotes the welfare of American seafarers and their dependents,
seafarers of all nations, U.S. government, military and civilian personnel
and others engaged in the maritime industry. Through a network of worldwide
USS Centers, the men and women of the Merchant Marine and U.S. Armed Forces
are provided with health, recreation and welfare services. Every USS Center
provides seafarers with services such as shipboard visits, hospitals visits,
wholesome meals, organized recreational activities, information facilities, currency exchange, mailing services, international telephone operations, legal counseling, community liaison and library facilities.