IMO has commemorated maritime emergency responders and seafarers for acts of bravery during Maritime Safety Week
Its top award was given to Vietnamese search and rescue (SAR) officer Tran Van Khoi for rescuing four survivors from a sunken vessel in October 2020.
IMO also awarded certificates of commendation to eight other individuals or sets of nominees for their acts of bravery, while a further six will receive letters of commendation.
The recipients were selected by a panel of judges, whose recommendations were endorsed by the IMO Council, meeting remotely from 28 June to 2 July.
Mr Khoi is a SAR officer of a regional maritime co-ordination centre of the Vietnam Maritime Administration. He was nominated by Vietnam for his extraordinary courage, determination and endurance during a three-day rescue operation.
On 8 October 2020, cargo vessel Vietship 01 was swept away as it was docking at the Cua Viet Port during typhoon Linfa, sinking in shallow waters, leaving its 12 crew members trapped on board.
Several rescue units were immediately deployed, but a rescue plan was not viable due to the severe weather and sea conditions.
On the morning of 9 October, Mr Khoi was on shore watch duty and saw two crew members being washed off by strong waves into the sea. Without hesitation, he tied a rope to his body and swam through 5-m waves and strong currents, rescuing both.
In the afternoon, two more crew members fell into the water and made it to shore. In deteriorating weather on 10 October, a fishing vessel tried to approach Vietship 01 but sank before it could reach it. Three fishermen climbed on to Vietship 01 for safety.
On the afternoon of 10 October, Mr Khoi volunteered for another approach to Vietship 01 on another fishing vessel, but rough sea conditions prevented the rescue attempt.
When two crew members jumped into the water, Mr Khoi risked his life again, swimming out to help them board the sunken fishing vessel.
He then volunteered to steer a rib coach boat to the casualty but was unsuccessful in approaching Vietship 01. On 11 October, rescue helicopters were deployed to the scene and the rest of survivors were hoisted to safety.
IMO’s certificates of commendation were awarded to:
IMO will send letters of commendation to:
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