The American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) held its annual Gala and Anchor Awards ceremony on Friday, November 12, 2021, in person at the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The event raised $640,000 which will go toward scholarships and equipment for aspiring Caribbean mariners pursuing degrees in the maritime field.
Chairing the Awards was Mike Maura Jr, CEO of Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. under the theme, “MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER”. Presenting sponsors, Nassau Cruise Port and Arawak Port Development, took the lead on what has become a seminal event in the cruise and cargo industry celebrating stalwarts of the sectors and maritime education in the Caribbean.
“ACMF’s work is critical to the Caribbean region, not only because it invests in, and produces, the next generation of maritime leaders, but the foundation understands that the maritime sector is a linchpin to the region’s development”, says Mike Maura Jr.
Receiving the Anchor Award were Alyse Lisk, Senior Vice President, Technology and Operational Excellence at TOTE, LLC; and Harriat Maragh, Chairman of Lannaman & Morris Group of Companies (posthumous) represented by his wife, Mrs. Charmaine Maragh.
Maritime top brass were out in numbers to celebrate the distinguished honorees and the work of the foundation. Among them were the Anchor Awards Patron Prime Minister of The Bahamas, The Honorable Philip Davis; Special Guest, Edmund Bartlett, MP, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism; Rick Murrell, President & CEO, Saltchuk Logistics; Michael Bayley, President/CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Frank Del Rio, CEO Norwegian Cruise Line; Rick Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises; Dion Bethel, President Arawak Port Development; Mark Tabbutt, Chairman of Saltchuk; Jeff Fiser, CEO Tropical Shipping; and Nazilla Simone Phillips, President Shipping Association of Barbados; to name a few.
“We are humbled by, and grateful for, the turnout and support we received for this event”, says ACMF President, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger. “We will be able to transform many more lives after this evening,” she continues.
The remarks of ACMF alum Tre’von Ferguson, 2nd Officer Ovation of the Seas/Royal Caribbean International, received thunderous applause and was followed by the surprise announcement by Royal Caribbean International’s president, Michael Bayley, that the company would double its scholarship funding to the ACMF in 2022 as it renews its commitment to hire ACMF graduates. He noted that Royal had never had a Caribbean captain and put the industry on notice that Royal hoped to change that.
Sharing the evening were representatives from two of ACMF academic partners—Dr. Ibrahim Ajagunna, Vice President of the Caribbean Maritime University; and Mrs. Willamae Johnson from the LJM Maritime Academy in The Bahamas. They were joined by ACMF scholarship recipients.
About the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF)
The American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF), a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charity, is committed to alleviating poverty, providing employment opportunities and transforming lives in the Caribbean through maritime education and community development. The ACMF recognizes that the maritime industry has a critical and unique role to play in reducing poverty, addressing gender equality issues, and spurring economic growth in the Caribbean. The organization’s core activities are focused on raising funds for scholarships, equipment, facilities and infrastructure and supporting the development of the maritime communities within the Caribbean region. The ACMF collaborates with maritime educational institutions including the Caribbean Maritime University (Jamaica), University of Trinidad and Tobago, and the LJM Maritime Academy (Bahamas). To date, the ACMF has awarded 63 full tuition scholarships and grants, funded the construction of a lecture hall in the name of one of its donors, and donated 18 laptops to help students study remotely during the pandemic.