In marking St. Petersburg's tercentenary, the Worldwide Shipping Prize Fund has decided to award its annual prize to the legendary cruiser Aurora. As announced at the committee for the St. Petersburg tercentenary celebrations, the fund awards a prize each year to the owner of a historical ship as an expression of gratitude from the organisation. Recent prize winners have been the British war ship Mary Rose (built in 1510), the royal barge Birmingham Real (1778), the trade vessel Star of India(1863), and the clipper Cutty Sark (1869). The awards have been presented by US President Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Queen Margaret II of Denmark, King Gustav XVI of Sweden, Portuguese President George Sampalo and others.
The candidates for the 2003 prize were 12 ships, of which the fund leaders chose the Aurora cruiser as the most famous Russian ship in shipping history. The cruiser became part of the Russian imperial fleet in 2003, took part in the famous Tsusimsk battle in 1905, and during World War I protected blockaded St. Petersburg. A shot fired from one of the Aurora's guns on the night of October 25, 1917 marked a new epoch in modern history.
According to the fund's rules, the prize should be accepted by the head of state of the country which owns the ship, in this case President Putin. Fund organisers have approached him with such a request. The worldwide shipping fund aims to attract world attention to other Russian ships in need of restoration, in particular the icebreaker Krasin, and also to locations of sea battles in Russia, for example the Kronstadt island fortress.
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