For Meritorious Public Service During Start of COVID-19


BROWARD COUNTY, FL - U.S. Coast Guard Captain JoAnn Burdian, Commander of USCG Sector Miami presented members of the Port Everglades Unified Command with a Meritorious Public Service Award for exceptional support to the U.S. Coast Guard during the unified response efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the Southeast Florida region from March to December 2020.

In accepting the award on behalf of the Unified Command, Broward County Mayor Michael Udine said: "The multi-agency Unified Command came together and made courageous decisions that resulted in saving lives at sea and at home. The plan that the Unified Command developed and implemented became the framework for the port agreements that the CDC enacted for ports and cruise lines throughout the nation. We are proud to have served as the prototype for cruise ships to begin sailing again in the United States."

From the onset of the cruise ship shutdown until the last two ships arrived in Broward County, the Port Everglades Unified Command was responsible for the safe disembarkation of 26 cruise ships and approximately 47,000 passengers at Port Everglades.

The Port Everglades Unified Command during the Coronavirus pandemic included:

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection 
  • Florida Department of Health in Broward County
  • Broward Sheriff's Office Departments of Law Enforcement and Fire Rescue 
  • Broward County
  • Broward County's Port Everglades Department
  • Broward County's Office of Regional Emergency Services and Communications
  • Port Everglades Pilots Association

Cruise line representatives for affected ships also participated as part of the response effort.

"These individuals have gallantly supported the Coast Guard Marine Safety mission, and are most heartily commended for their decisiveness, dedication, and public health expertise, which is in keeping with the highest traditions of public service," read Capt. Burdian during the ceremony on February 23 at Port Everglades.

Port Everglades was the first cruise port to restart voyages in the United States when Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Edge began sailing on June 26, 2021, following a 15-month cruise shutdown due to the pandemic.

February 24, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Kennedy
Port Everglades External Affairs