The new Merchant Shipping Database (Databank Koopvaardij) was awarded the Maritime Achievement Award at the Maritime Awards Gala on 6 November. The purpose of this database is to raise social awareness about Dutch wartime history and especially the role of seafarers during wartime merchant shipping.

The Maritime Achievement Award aims to highlight socially-relevant maritime achievements. These are people or initiatives that play a distinctive role for the position of the Dutch maritime sector and/or add value to the social debate on the Netherlands as a maritime relevant country.

The other nominees for this year’s edition of the Maritime Achievement Award were:

  • Net Zero Climate Agreement Seafaring. On 7 July 2023, at MEPC80, of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), member states agreed on a climate accord that includes a net zero target for international shipping by or near 2050. Acceleration of global shipping sustainability comes closer.
  • Welfare Seafarers. On behalf of the Protestant Church Netherlands (PKN) and umbrella organisation Dutch Seafarers’ Centre, merchant navy pastor Helene Perfors has been committed to the welfare of seafarers in Dutch port areas for years.

Also read: All Maritime Awards nominees revealed

Making history visible and tangible

According to the jury, the Merchant Shipping Database not only brings the important role of seafarers in merchant shipping closer to their families, but the initiators also make this history visible and tangible.

Winner of the Maritime Achievement Award, the Merchant Shipping Database.
Winner of the Maritime Achievement Award, the Merchant Shipping Database (by SWZM/G.J. de Boer).

The introduction of the Merchant Shipping Database concerns an original initiative. The database draws attention in an interactive and educational manner, attention to a maritime-specific and underexposed war history for the purpose of raising social awareness about the role of seafarers on the merchant marine in wartime.

The fact that the initiative pays so much attention to the human side of this history is essential. Nothing is possible without the human factor and it is therefore essential as an industry to indicate how important the people in it are. That includes the people who are no longer there.

Maritime Awards Gala

Every year during the Maritime Awards Gala, over 900 maritime professionals meet to celebrate the innovative strength of the Dutch maritime sector together with the press, politicians and the nominees for the five maritime awards. In addition to the Maritime Achievement Award, the Maritime Talent Award, Maritime Innovation Award, Maritime Security Award and Ship of the Year Award are presented. This year, the Gala took place on 6 November at Ahoy Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Also read: Van Oord takes home KVNR Shipping Award for LNG-powered dredgers