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Rita Ramoth takes the top-prize

Winner Announced in Shell/Harvey Gulf International Marine Vessel Naming Competition

A young woman from Kivalina, Alaska takes the top-prize in a vessel naming competition by choosing the word “Sisuaq”, meaning beluga.   A shocked Rita Ramoth received her $5000 grant at a packed Regional Basketball tournament in Kotzebue, Alaska.

Rita Ramoth, a junior classmate from the Kivalina McQueen School, could not have been more surprised at being named the winner of a vessel naming competition sponsored by Shell and Harvey Gulf International Marine (Harvey Gulf).  Ramoth submitted “Sisuaq”as the vessel name, meaning beluga.  Rita described Sisuaq as having deep cultural significance and stressed the importance of the beluga as a food source for the Inupiaq people. 

Rita was honored for her entry on Saturday night during halftime of the boy’s championship game at the Regional Basketball tournament held in Kotzebue, AK March 1-3, 2012.  Shell and Harvey Gulf representatives announced Rita as the winner of a $5,000 grant to the Northwest Arctic Borough School of choice, to support the Inupiat language and culture program, and a $500 gift card to the AC store.  

In addition to her winnings, Rita was presented with an oil on canvas painting of the Sisuaq and informed that her and her grandparents will be flown to Panama City, FL to visit and tour the Sisuaq. 

Shell and Harvey Gulf held the competition throughout the Northwest Arctic Borough (NWAB) during December of 2011.  The vessel being named is an Offshore Supply Vessel that will be used to support drilling operations in the Beaufort Sea. 

The requirements for the competition were as follows:  propose an Inupiat vessel name honoring the traditions of the arctic, provide an English translation, describe the origin of the word, and highlight the cultural significance.  The competition was open to any resident within the NWAB. 

The selection committee was as follows: Dean Westlake, NWAB Assembly; Walter Sampson, NWAB Assembly; Eugene Smith, Mayor of Kotzebue; Andy Baker, Andy Baker and Associates; Cole W. Schaeffer, President & CEO of KIC, a Shell Representative, and a Harvey Gulf Representative. 

Congratulations and thank you to all the residents of the NWAB that participated!!!