Thursday, December 8, 2016

Crew of Heavy Lift Freight Vessel Honoured for Rescue of Fisherman

Award Made for August Rescue
Shipping News Feature
US – INDONESIA – Officers and crewmembers of the Crowley Maritime-managed M/V Ocean Glory were recently honoured for demonstrating heroism at sea, during the United Seamen’s Service’s (USS) annual AOTOS awards ceremony in New York. The crew were recognised with an Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Mariners’ Plaque for rescuing an Indonesian fisherman in the vicinity of the Bali Strait while enroute to Banyuwangi, Indonesia on the 14 August, 2016. The award was accepted on behalf of the participants by Capt. Christopher Hill, master of the Ocean Glory.

The heavy lift vessel, managed by Crowley on behalf of operator Intermarine LLC, was on charter to the US military’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), and sailing on schedule to deliver supplies to support exercises in the region when the officer of the watch reported a man standing atop an overturned, outrigger fishing boat. The small boat had capsized the previous day in a squall and the lone fisherman had been adrift in very rough seas for about 20 hours before Ocean Glory's arrival on scene. The capsized boat was in a strong current and being swept out into the Indian Ocean.

The Ocean Glory notified the Indonesian Coast Guard and, while awaiting their assistance, attempted to pass a lifejacket via the ship's heaving line to the distressed fisherman. Unfortunately the fisherman lost his footing and fell into the water while still holding the end of the ship's heaving line. The ship's pilot ladder was quickly rigged and the crew quickly dragged the fisherman to the ladder, where he was able to climb aboard before collapsing from exhaustion and dehydration. Captain Hill said:

“While being treated by the ship's medical officer, he tearfully thanked everyone around him without knowing or needing a word of English, and insisted, even in his weakened condition, on shaking everyone's hands ... he was so thankful to be alive.”

An Indonesian ambulance and medical team came aboard as soon as the gangway was down in Tanjungwangi. The shore side medical team transported the survivor to the hospital for further medical treatment, but not before the ship's crew and on-board members of the US Army donated shoes, clothes and money to help speed the man’s recovery and return home. Wendy MacDonald, vice president, global ship management, commented:

“On behalf of everyone at Crowley, we want to commend crew of the Ocean Glory for their truly heroic act. Capt. Hill and his crew showed extraordinary compassion and skill to ensure their safety while rescuing a fellow mariner. Without the crew’s bravery, that fisherman may not be alive today.”

Photo: The plight of the sailor adrift far out in the Indian Ocean when he was found.