Monday, June 14, 2010

IMO Dishes Out Shipping Awards For Bravery, Safety And Education

Exceptional Performances Warrant Recognition
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The 104th meeting of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has decided to endorse the decision of a Panel of Judges that the 2010 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea should go to Fourth Engineer James Fanifua. Mr Fanifua was an engineer aboard the MV Scarlett Lucy when she answered a distress call from the yacht Sumatra II sinking 350 nautical miles East of Brisbane on the 22nd May last year.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) received a call from US Coast Guard and coordinated five fixed wing aircraft to assist in locating the yachts position as the incident was too far out to utilise helicopters. A broadcast to shipping causing the Scarlett Lucy to divert in 8 metre seas to intercept the stricken yacht and the first crewman was rescued via a boarding net.

The second man, a 72 year old American, remained helpless in the water for 45 minutes until Mr Fanifua, showing scant regard for his personal safety, went overboard and retrieved the man from the water in the most appalling weather and brought him aboard as in this short video. The Panel of Judges considered that Engineer Fanifua displayed extraordinary bravery and humanitarian concern and had gone far beyond the call of duty.

The Council also decided that, of the other nominees, four will receive Certificates of Commendation and five Letters of Commendation. A total of 31 nominations from 16 IMO Member States were received and considered by an Assessment Panel consisting of experts nominated by various international non-governmental organizations.

The International Maritime Prize awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization, went to Mr. Johan Franson (Sweden), for his contribution to maritime safety, security and prevention of pollution from ships.

Mr. Franson, Director General of the Swedish Maritime Administration, played a key role as policy and technical adviser to the Swedish Government on maritime issues, and his expertise and competence became evident following the tragic loss of the Estonia with 852 lives in 1994. He led the Swedish delegation to the 1995 SOLAS Conference, which adopted a number of measures in the wake of the Estonia tragedy, including those related to damage stability.

The President of the World Maritime University (WMU), founded by the IMO in 1983, has expressed concern as to the future of the institution after reported budgetary shortfalls in 2010/11 and, after examination by the Technical Co‑operation Committee it was agreed that the IMO would make good the funds missing since the withdrawal of support from long standing donors, coupled with the difficulty of obtaining new industry funding in the extremely difficult financial circumstances pressuring shipping circles.

It was agreed that the IMO Council would transfer, in two tranches, a total of £500,000 from reserves in the Organization’s Technical Co-operation (TC) Fund to provide short-term financial support. Since its inception the WMU has seen 2855 graduates from158 countries pass through, many of whom hold senior positions in maritime education, as heads of institutions or as professors. Others hold key posts in national ministries, maritime administrations, ports and shipping companies, or represent their Governments in a range of capacities at IMO and other international forums, enabling them to influence and direct maritime policy in their countries, regions and at the global level.

Photo: A scene from the dramatic rescue affected by Fourth Engineer James Fanifua.