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For those who have a Facebook account, here is an opportunity to show what American mariners and the U.S.-flag merchant fleet mean to this country.

The team from the Defense and Transportation departments (including the Maritime Administration) that coordinated the removal of chemicals used by Syria to attack people has been nominated for the first-ever People’s Choice Award sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service. (This is not to be confused with a similarly named award seen on television.)

In January 2014, the Cape Ray – crewed by members from the MTD-affiliated Seafarers International Union as well as the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association – set sail for Spain to await the transfer of the harmful chemicals as part of a multi-national effort to eliminate the toxins. The vessel was specifically modified to handle the job. Joining the crew on board were technicians who were members of the MTD-affiliated International Association of Machinists who actually oversaw the neutralizing of the chemicals.

In late June 2014, the chemicals were transferred safely at sea to the Cape Ray from a Danish vessel. By August, the Defense Department announced more than 600 metric tons of chemicals had been neutralized aboard the Cape Ray, which sailed to Germany and Finland to offload the resulting effluent.

Then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “commended the crew for conducting every aspect of the mission in a highly professional manner with strict adherence to safety and with no impact to the surrounding environment. They should be all very proud of what they’ve accomplished to help reduce the threat of chemical weapons.”

To show support for this effort, vote at http://bit.ly/1TVO00Z and choose “Timothy A. Blades (DoD), Paul S. Gilmour (DOT) and team”. You must have a Facebook account and you may vote once a day until the deadline of 11:59 pm on September 30, 2015.

The winner will be announced October 7 in Washington.

The Partnership for Public Service is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that believes good government starts with good people.” The organization helps “government serve the needs of all Americans by strengthening the civil service and the systems that support it.”