I have to start out by saying this type of thing is not usually my type of thing. Why? It’s the type of stuffy, black tie event that only the British could pull off. The type that’s for elite ship owners with mega-wealth. And it’s the type that thumbs it’s nose at the average mariner, you and me, particularly those on working ships… or so I thought. The following is the story behind these awards that I was asked by the Nautical Institute to keep confidential until now:
In July I attended a set of hearings on the Deepwater Horizon incident that was eye opening. I had long realized the excellent job done in the saving of 115 lives, all persons aboard who where not directly in the blast zone at the time of the explosion. Details of that hearing made it clear to me just how close the Horizon was to loosing more lives and the extraordinary nature of the SAR done by the Damien Bankston and her crew. Details which compelled me to nominate the boat’s captain, Alwin Landry, to the awards as Shipmaster Of The Year.
But there were a few problems. First was that the Bankston was not technically a ship, it’s a workboat, thus Captain Landry is not technically a shipmaster and thus does not qualify as shipmaster of the year. He certainly wasn’t master of the Queen Mary II, like a previous winner, and did not get a multi-million dollar movie deal like In my mind Landry is a shipmaster… but this wasn’t a gCaptain award it was a Nautical Institute award so my opinion didn’t matter and, anyone who has applied for a DP certificate from the NI knows they are sticklers for such details.
The second problem was that the nomination process was over. It had been closed for a week, the deadline for submitting nominations was officially over. And, again, this was a detail I did not think they would overlook.
There where other problems with the nomination that, in my head at least, had me convinced that the nomination was a long shot, a very long shot and I only had one hope…. You!
I knew that my nomination alone would not sway any jury but a flood of nominations would, in the very least, make it hard for the award committee to ignore the request. So I made two posts, one on the blog and one on this forum, asking gCaptain members to pull together and submit their own nominations for Alwin.
Then the unexpected happened. The calendar rolled over to September and, not being able to get anyone at NI on the phone, I had all but given up hope when Philip Wake, their Chief Executive Officer, contacted me directly with a top secret request. They had received our flood of nominations and looked into the matter and Landry was “the clear winner”!
I was asked to keep the information top secret and to contact Landry to make sure he could attend the Gala ceremony in London on September 29th and to do so without letting the information leak, they wanted it to be a surprise.
Well a few confidential emails with gCaptain members later and everything was arranged. Tidewater sponsored Landry, paid to have him and his wife attend the event and even helped him get a Tuxedo!
So my thanks to all of you for helping make this (well deserved!) award happen. I couldn’t be more proud of the gCaptain community for pulling together! And my deepest apologies to NI for my doubts… this award shows me the integrity of the panel to truly find and award the best mariners each year.
Lastly [B][I]congratulations Captain Landry and Crew… the award is well deserved![/I][/B]