Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Nominations Open for Bravery at Sea Awards for the 169th Time

Heroes of the Sea Sought by Charity
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Hot on the heels of requests to nominate the cream of the search and rescue industry for the IMRF Awards, comes another appeal for heroes to step forward as UK national maritime charity, the Shipwrecked Mariner' Society, calls on members of the maritime and rescue communities to nominate those who have demonstrated outstanding bravery and expertise in aiding those in peril at sea, for its 169th Skill and Gallantry Awards.

Since 1851, the Society has presented the awards to individuals and crews who have shown courage and expert skill in rescues at sea, with this year’s awards set to be presented at the charity’s AGM in October. The Society is calling for nominations relating to rescues that took place between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, with the closing date for submissions 12 noon, Friday 1 May 2020.

Among last year’s recipients was Jay Holden, the skipper of the Fishing Vessel Emilia Jayne, who was presented with the Society’s Lady Swaythling Trophy for facilitating the rescue of his crewmate who fell overboard in severe winds and high seas off the coast of Salcombe, Devon, in March 2019.

His citation read that Mr Holden displayed notable calm and professionalism in contacting the coastguard, turning the vessel around and heading back towards the last known position of his crewman in high seas and darkness. The treacherous conditions, with severe gale force 9 winds and 20ft seas, made it a significant challenge to maintain a steady course but the crew were eventually able to identify a casualty in the water. Despite being unable to recover him on board immediately, the crew liaised further with the Coastguard and the Newquay Coastguard helicopter and deployed an orange smoke flare to help the winchman identify the casualty and perform a swift recovery.

The Edward and Maisie Lewis Award, for an ‘outstanding rescue’, was presented to the crew of helicopter Rescue 01 based at Mount Pleasant Airfield in the Falkland Islands, who carried out two consecutive, complex and demanding rescues of critically ill patients in demanding and dangerous conditions that pushed their mental and physical endurance to the limit. Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Captain Justin Osmond, said:

“The Society’s Skill and Gallantry Awards provide us with the opportunity to recognise and celebrate true acts of heroism at sea each year, whether through expert teamwork or individual bravery. The awards are now in their 169th year and whilst many of our heroes are extremely humble and see their actions as simply part of their job, we want to encourage nominations from individuals or organisations so we can thank those who have gone to great lengths to protect others.”

Founded after the tragic loss of a fleet of fishing boats in 1839, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society provides financial support to individuals in need who have worked or are still working at sea in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, as well as their dependants. Last year the Society distributed more than £1.4 million in grants in over 2,000 cases of need and received more than 500 new applications for assistance.

To submit a nomination for this year’s Skill and Gallantry Awards, contact: Capt Justin Osmond RN, Chief Executive Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TL Tel: 01243 789329 or email general@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

Photo: Jay Holden receiving his award last year.