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IMO awards for exceptional bravery at sea

Captain Radhika Menon, the first female to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, speaking after IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim presented her with the 2016 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea on 21 November, during an emotional ceremony – illustration by kind courtesy of IMO©

The IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea was established by IMO to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery, displaying outstanding courage in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment. For 2016, 23 nominations were received from nine Member States and one inter-governmental organization.

The Master of an Indian oil tanker who says she was “just doing her job” has received the highest IMO bravery recognition for saving the lives of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat during a tumultuous storm in the Bay of Bengal in June 2015.

‘It is every seafarer’s and Master’s solemn duty and obligation to save souls in distress at sea. I just did what a seafarer should do for a fellow soul in distress at sea. Yes, it was an instant decision, but not without assessing the risks involved. I just did my duty,’ said Captain Radhika Menon, Master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya.