Port Tampa Bay and the Tampa Port Ministries announced today that they will honor what they called the port’s “most venerable cruise partner” – Holland America Line – with the Captain James McKay Award at the 14th Annual Anchor Ball on October 10. The Anchor Ball is an annual charity event that supports Tampa Port Ministries and the George Steinbrenner maritime scholarship program.

The Tampa Seafarers Center, operated by Tampa Port Ministries and staffed by dedicated volunteers, serves the crews of cargo and cruise ships that visit the port from all over the world, by meeting the physical, social and spiritual needs of seafarers, often of modest means, who spend weeks and months at sea, away from their homes and families.

The James McKay Award is named in honor of the Scottish-born schooner Captain James McKay, traditionally acknowledged as a father of the port, who in the mid-1800s began running ships between Tampa, Mobile and New Orleans, as well as shipping cattle to Cuba, and who went on to serve as Mayor of Tampa. He was active in shipping and trading before, during and after the Civil War.

“This prestigious recognition of Holland America is very well deserved, as the cruise line has been a constant presence and an economic strength for the port and region for over 30 years, greatly contributing to the growth of the port and our local tourism market,” said Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson. “We look forward many more years of partnership and deployments with Holland America.”

The port and Tampa Port Ministries will also be providing additional funds for a maritime scholarship program launched at last year’s event, in George Steinbrenner’s name, for graduates of the Hillsborough County Schools’ high school maritime studies program, created by the local Propeller Club chapter.

The 14th Annual Port Tampa Bay Anchor Ball charity event and silent auction will take place Saturday Oct. 10 at the Cruise Terminal 3.