The Maritime Achievement- Honorary Award

In the early 1980s, the idea arose in the Board of the Finnish Maritime Society to introduce a special honorary award as recognition of major achievements for increasing knowledge and appreciation of maritime culture. The result was the Maritime Achievement- Honorary Award, the rules for which were approved in 1983. According to the rules, the objective of the award is to recognize major achievements in accordance with the Finnish Maritime Society’s rules for increasing knowledge and appreciation of the Finnish maritime culture. It can be awarded a private person, a group of persons, an association, a company or institution, a special event or project or a permanently organized activity. The award consists of a diploma with an attached medal. The medal was designed and made by the artist Hannu Veijalainen (Oy Tillander Ab).

To enhance its importance and objective, the first award was presented when the Finnish Maritime Society celebrated its 60th anniversary. Two copies were handed over at the Society’s jubilee meeting on May 15, 1986, to the organizers of the Sea Finland exhibition held in Greenwich, London in summer 1985: the Finnish Maritime Museum and the National Maritime Museum of Greenwich.

At the same meeting, award No. 2 was presented to the Swedish surface rescue swimmer Sven Selling for his meritorious efforts in rescuing the crew of the Finnish ship Karelia, which was wrecked in March 1986.

Award No. 3 was presented at the Society’s annual meeting on board ms Cinderella on April 11, 1990, to Mr Gunnar Eklund, maritime counsellor, for his achievements in promoting Finnish shipping and, in particular, for his pioneering work in the initiating and developing of car ferry services in the Baltic Sea.

Award No. 4 was presented on November 7, 1996, to the artist Erkki Riimala for his long-standing work for making Finnish shipping known and especially for the extensive four-volume historical account Navis Fennica, which he edited and which was the first history of Finnish shipping, shipbuilding, ports and other sectors of sea use.

Award No. 5 was presented by the Society on February 23, 1998, to CEO Martin Saarikangas, who brought Finnish shipbuilding to new prosperity, acting as a prominent figure in emphasizing the importance of shipbuilding and shipping to our country.

The Maritime Achievement Award No. 6, presented to the John Nurminen Foundation on April 26, 2004, is an acknowledgement of the efforts of the Foundation towards increased general knowledge of the history and present conditions of Finnish shipping.

The Maritime Achievement honorary award was awarded for the seventh time on April 25, 2006, this time to a project called “The schooner Helena in Joutsen’s wake”. The project, which is the result of an eminent idea and cooperation between several organizations, has made it possible, by making use of Finland’s maritime history and traditions, to offer youths the chance of getting acquainted with the sea and with navigation by participating in ocean sailings on board the schooner Helena in the wake of the training ship Suomen Joutsen.

Modern electronic and printed communication has also made it possible to tell the general public about the sea, navigation and maritime youth work, thus making the project widely known. Like the Suomen Joutsen, the schooner Helena has brought information and a positive picture of Finland to the ports and countries she has visited.

The award was handed over in Turku on May 9, 2006, when the Helena returned from her voyage in the wake of the Joutsen’s fifth sailing. It was issued in two copies, one to be kept on board the frigate Suomen Joutsen and one on the schooner Helena.