Sep 082011
 

A day when seafarers were heroes, too

It was the greatest criminal act in history. A day that created heroes among them the US merchant marine who evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from Lower Manhattan after the 11 September, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Their story is told a new video released  by the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Rescue at Water’s Edge includes interviews with vessel operators, emergency responders and passengers.

“The story of merchant mariners coming to the aid of those in need on September 11, 2001 is an inspiring one,” says US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “On that terrible day, our nation’s seafarers, with courage and selflessness, transported hundreds of thousands of people out of harm’s way to safety.”

More than 300,000 people were evacuated by water from lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks in the largest unplanned water evacuation in the history of the United States.

“The men and women of the New York and New Jersey merchant maritime community provided a beacon of light on one of the darkest days in our country’s history. They were among the heroes running toward danger and exemplify what it means to be a US merchant mariner,” says US Maritime Administrator David Matsuda.

Dave Heindel, ITF seafarers’ section chair and secretary-treasurer of the SIU (Seafarers International Union), whose members, along with those of the MEBA and ILA, were involved throughout the 9/11 relief and evacuation effort, commented: “This is the recognition that these men and women deserve, and it’s great that it’s been made public. Once again US mariners were quick to answer their nation’s call when and where needed. I hope that this message from the Department of Transportation will be widely and deservedly reported.”

 

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