(Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 16, 2010) – On Friday, Nov. 12, two United Seamen’s Service (USS) 2010 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) were presented to William A. “Bill” Pennella, Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of Crowley Maritime Corporation, and Thomas J. Bethel, National President of American Maritime Officers (AMO), at a gala industry dinner and dance. Tom Crowley Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Crowley, presented the AOTOS to Pennella.
Crowley and AMO provided much-needed humanitarian relief services to Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake. AMO’s response was to man many of the U.S.-flagged vessels. Crowley’s response was to unload Haiti relief cargo containers filled with water and meals in the Dominican Republic to be trucked across the border into Haiti.
In accepting their AOTOS Awards, both Bethel and Pennella paid respect to the award recipients that preceded them and to American maritime labor.
“I have always felt in awe of the social importance of the maritime labor movement. It allowed an entire generation of immigrants to join the middle class, educate their children and have a decent standard of living,” Pennella said. “I also strongly believe that if the labor movement had not fought hard to force corporations to share the wealth in the early 1900s, this great country could have faced a social revolution and unrest.”
In honoring his late father, he continued, “He taught me to respect all workers and I was always proud that in my career I was never responsible for a work stoppage or strike.”
Pennella began his maritime career in 1968 with Sea-Land Service. He held various management positions with Global Terminal and Container Services and United States Lines before joining Crowley in 1987. He is the third Crowley executive to receive an AOTOS, after the late Tom Crowley Sr. in 1987, and Tom Crowley Jr. in 2002.
All proceeds from the AOTOS event benefit USS community services abroad for the U.S. merchant marine and those of other free world countries. Since 1942, USS continues to provide community services for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the American Armed Forces, and seafarers of the world. USS, a non-profit agency, operates centers in eight foreign ports in Europe, Asia, and Africa and in the Indian Ocean, and also provides seagoing libraries to American vessels through its affiliate, the American Merchant Marine Library Association.
Caption: Award winners pictured with their presenters, (right to left): Crowley and Pennella, Bethel and Michael J. Sacco.