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Taku Wins Prestigious Award for Rescuing Fishers from Burning Boat

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - For the second time in as many years, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) will be honored by the United Seaman's Service (USS).

Ferry Taku Capt. Thomas Moore will attend the Admiral of the Ocean Sea award dinner ceremony Friday night in New York City where he will accept the Honored Seafarer Award on behalf of the ship, AMHS and the State of Alaska.

AMHS and the Taku crew are being honored for the rescue Taku's crew performed of two men off the burning fishing vessel Alaskan Pride in Chatham Strait Oct. 13, 2009.

The award presentation and dinner is hosted and coordinated by the USS. The USS is an organization that has promoted the welfare of seamen since 1942 and supplies seagoing libraries to the American Merchant Marine, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and to seafarers of allied nations through its affiliate, the American Merchant Marine Library Association, Public Library of the High Seas since 1921.

"Our ferry crews are expertly trained in lifesaving at sea," said Leo von Scheben, Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. "This award for Taku's crew marks another great milestone in the AMHS history books - one that I and all Alaskans can be proud of."

The 352-foot Taku had departed Juneau and was sailing to Hoonah when a call for help came over the ship's radio. The Alaskan Pride's captain, Mike Worthington of Kake, reported an engine room fire growing out of control. Worthington and Darren Manual of Spokane, Wash., broadcast a mayday call and abandoned the 55-foot boat for a life raft. Taku diverted course in 35-knot winds and 10-foot seas to pull the uninjured fishers to safety.

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