Yankee Freedom at Fort Jefferson Dock

Key West, Fl
Published: Tuesday December 16, 2008

ON December 3, 2008, Chris Belland, CEO of Historic Tours of America representing Yankee Roamer, Inc., accepted the First Honorable Mention Award for environmental practices aboard the Yankee Freedom. The International Work Boat Show is the pre-eminent show in the world featuring products and services
offered worldwide for the cruise ship industry, tanker transports, tug boats and, in fact, all ships and boats considered working vessels. The
event was attended by a worldwide
list of exhibitors, buyers and suppliers from virtually every country in the world.
yankee freedom environment award

The prestigious award was the first ever for the Work Boat Exhibition which recognizes the emerging importance of environmental practices by the marine transportation industry. The 2008 award nominees included such companies as Caterpillar Marine Power Systems, Crowley Maritime Corporation, Fishermen’s Terminal (Seattle, WA), Holland America Lines, Honda Marine, Maersk Line and Princess Cruises.

While the award was given to River Quest because of their extraordinary efforts in “greening” their passenger vessels with diesel electric battery hybrid propulsion systems and a myriad of other efforts that entailed hiring a team of naval architects, marine engineers and green building experts, “It was still quite an honor for Yankee Roamer, Inc. to even be considered in the company of these global industries,” said Belland. “I am especially proud of the Yankee Roamer team, headed up by Captain Rick Gauron. The owners of the Yankee Freedom, Carol Hill and Captain Jerry Hill, have supported this effort from the very beginning, almost twenty years ago, when they started taking passengers out to the Dry Tortugas.”

Belland further stated, “The Yankee Freedom has been certified as an ISO 14001 operation which was obtained through the efforts of my son, Christian, several years ago and has subsequently won the Environmental Protection Agency’s Performance Track Award for the last five years running. Obviously, I am very proud of everyone’s efforts to do this. We are presently being considered by the National Park Service for a proposal they asked to be submitted for a single source concession to provide transportation to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. We knew this would eventually happen and have been preparing for what we knew would be the requirements of any such request from the National Park Service. This only confirms that we are ready to begin the ferry service on an exclusive basis when the National Park Service makes the award.”

Belland was also in New Orleans for the convention to present his Chamber of Commerce “Love Your Island” presentation. “It was basically the same presentation I have done many times around the community of Key West but I added several twists to include how good environmental stewardship is practiced by the Yankee Freedom and why all work boats at the convention should be ready to do the same. They will be either responding to the request of their customers or have it mandated by the city, state, or federal government for all future contracts. They may as well start doing it now.”
Although Belland accepted the award on behalf of the Yankee Freedom, he said, “The award really belongs to the EMS (Environmental Management System) team on board the Yankee Freedom led by Captain Rick.” The award will be prominently displayed on the vessel to make sure the passengers realize that good environmental practices are everybody’s responsibility.