â€œThe story of merchant mariners coming to the aid of those in need on September 11, 2001 is an inspiring one,â€ said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. â€œOn that terrible day, our nationâ€™s seafarers, with courage and selflessness, transported hundreds of thousands of people out of harmâ€™s way to safety.â€
More than 300,000 people were evacuated by water from lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks in the largest unplanned water evacuation in the history of the United States.
â€œThe men and women of the New York and New Jersey merchant maritime community provided a beacon of light on one of the darkest days in our countryâ€™s history. They were among the heroes running toward danger and exemplify what it means to be a U.S. merchant mariner,â€ said U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda.
The Maritime Administration strengthens the maritime transportation system of the United States to meet the economic and security needs of the country. It also operates the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, which provides advanced education and training for professionals from the maritime community, private sector, government and military.