The U.S. Coast Guard awards prestigious honors to Holland America for environmental stewardship at sea.
Despite grandiloquent claims to the contrary by the often uninformed and blindly critical masses, the cruise industry is often at the forefront of environmental protection for Earth's marine environment.
One cruise line that deserves a special mention has just been officially recognized for exemplary attention to the maritime environment: Holland America Line - the Seattle-based company that specializes in cruises to Alaska and other ecologically crucial marine environments.
To honor its commitment to ecological practices, Holland America just received the top honor awarded by the U.S. Coast Guard for oceanographic environmental excellence - the 2012 Gold Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award.
This award recognizes the leadership and achievements of Holland America in exceeding standard regulations in several environmental objectives - proving that the cruise industry can be at the forefront of maritime ecological standards despite claims to the contrary.
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The U.S. Coast Guard Benkert Award
Upon accepting the award Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line said, "We are honored that the U.S. Coast Guard has acknowledged our efforts with a second Benkert Award." This award was bestowed by a panel of experts after a thorough review of Holland America's many varied methods towards environmental stewardship.
The company first won this award in 2010 for its combined and comprehensive methods to manage environmental impact and reduce overall carbon footprint. In 2011, the line added a sustainable seafood program that employs environmentally responsible purchasing practices to ensure that only sustainable seafood is used on all Holland America Line ships.
More Than an Award
The William M. Benkert Award is the premier marine environmental protection award presented by the Coast Guard to members of the maritime industry. The biennial award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards.
And while winning the award brings it own prestige, it is also extremely important to recognize the role the award, and its application process, plays in bringing to light the creative exchange of ideas and innovations required to achieve environmental excellence.
The Benkert Award objectives include:
- Improving the environmental performance and overall quality of marine transportation-related companies through a detailed self-assessment process against award standards.
- Encouraging the use of the international environmental management protocol developed by the International Standards Organization.
- Increasing public awareness of the importance of protecting the marine environment and delicate marine ecosystems.
- Providing a means for sharing with other marine enterprises successful methods and techniques used by the winners
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Holland America's Environmental Commitment
Holland America Line's Environmental Management System was first certified in 2006 and recertified in 2009. The company works diligently to conserve fuel and water, employs the latest technologies for wastewater and oily bilge water treatment, and uses innovative strategies to reduce and manage its solid waste stream.
The cruise line is also an industry leader in exploring new environmental initiatives such as a whale conservation and protection program. The line also uses shore power in a growing number of ports, especially in Alaska but also in several Canadian, Californian and other ports where it may be provided.
"At Holland America Line we recognize that environmental stewardship is a daily responsibility, and we are continually seeking ways to enhance and extend our initiatives," said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line.
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A "scrubber" takes the emissions from burning solid waste and removed the toxins and solids in order to store them for removal in port for storage at landfills - protecting the oceans.
Installing a scrubber on a Holland America ship
Connecting shore power to a Holland America ship in port - the ship's recepticle
The shore power transmission lines supplied to ships in certain ports of call.