Chinese chief officer shortlisted for IMO bravery award
Mr. Bo Xu, chief officer impressed the judges with his exceptional rescue of two survivors, found in a life raft in heavy weather and rough seas.
Mr. Bo Xu, Chief Officer of the Jian Qiao 502 tanker, will receive the 2022 IMO Award for Outstanding Gallantry at Sea, in recognition of his bravery, determination and endurance in rescuing two people in a raft rescue near Zhifu Bay in northern China in heavy weather and heavy seas.
Five individuals or groups of nominees will receive certificates of congratulations for their acts of bravery, while six others will receive letters of congratulations.
The recipients were selected by a panel of judges, whose recommendation was approved by the IMO Council, meeting for its 127th session (July 11-15).
A total of 41 nominations were received for the 2022 award from 17 Member States and two non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO.
2022 Award Winner
On the morning of December 12, 2021, the freighter Tian Feng 369 suffered bad weather, flooded and began to sink 30 nautical miles northeast of Zhifu Bay. The tanker Jian Qiao 502, which was heading for the port of Dongguan, changed course without delay to come to the aid of the vessel in distress.
After an hour and a half of an exhaustive search, Chief Officer Bo Xu spotted a drifting life raft filled with seawater and carrying two survivors. The Jian Qiao 502 headed for the raft and the crew soon realized that the two survivors were too weak to tie a rope securely to each other.
Mr. Xu jumped into the icy waters without hesitation and swam relentlessly towards the raft, battling high waves and strong currents. After several attempts, he reached and pulled himself to the life raft and tied the ropes to the survivors, who were successfully transferred to the deck with the help of other crew members.
On his return to the ship, the first officer immediately carried out the emergency resuscitation of the two survivors, despite the fatigue and the cold from which he still suffered. Eventually, one of the survivors survived and the other, unfortunately, died of hypothermia.
Mr. Xu was nominated for the award by China.
Certificates of congratulations
The Council agreed to award certificates of congratulations to:
The crew of the SAR Rescue Cyclone Victor helicopter, Flottille 33F, Naval Air Base of Lanvéoc, French Navy, designated by France, for the rescue in bad weather and rough seas of the entire crew of the seriously damaged sailboat Don Quijote.
The crews of the Indian Navy vessels INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, together with those of the tug/supply vessel Greatship Ahalya, for the rescue of 261 people (including 18 casualties) aboard the accommodation barge P-305, continued to its collision with an oil rig during Cyclone Tauktae.
The crew of the fishing vessel Fukuseki-maru No.15, nominated by Japan, for the successful rescue of 20 lives aboard the half-sunken fishing vessel Bandar Nelayan 188.
Three aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, MA, United States Coast Guard; three crews from 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, Greenwood NS, Royal Canadian Air Force; and the crew of the CCGS Cape Roger, Canadian Coast Guard, named by the United States, for the international rescue operation of the 31 crew members of the fishing vessel Atlantic Destiny, which was on fire, out of engine, invading and pitching and rolling violently.
Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Juan Espinosa Gomez, Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Alaska, United States Coast Guard, appointed by the United States for the rescue of a sailor from the sailing ship Ananda, in the midst of a rough seas and limited visibility caused by a powerful Alaskan storm.
Letters of congratulations
Letters of congratulations will be sent to:
The crew of the B-7309 rescue helicopter, Beihai Rescue Bureau, appointed by China, for the search and rescue operation of five fishermen from the capsized fishing vessel Liao Zhuang Yu 65558.
The crew of the fishing vessel Zhe Yu Yu 82085, named by China, for rescuing five surviving fishermen from the sinking vessel Shen Lian Cheng 707.
The firefighter of the Groupement d’Intervention en Milieu Dangereux (GRIMP), Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Reunion (SDIS 974), designated by France, for his actions during the coordinated rescue of 11 crew members of the stranded oil tanker Tresta Star.
Captain Kakha Bezhanidze, captain of the M/T Elan Vital, appointed by Georgia, for the coordinated search and rescue operation of 10 survivors found in three separate life rafts after the sinking of the M/T Suvari H.
Aviation Survival Technician First Class Newsward K. Marfil, Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, United States Coast Guard, appointed by the United States, for the rescue of two pilots forced to abandon their cargo plane in the Pacific Ocean.
Mr. Nguyen Van Hoa, Head of Drug and Crime Control Team, Tan Thanh Border Guard Station, Binh Thuan Provincial Border Guard Command, nominated by Viet Nam for rescuing a swimmer carried away by fast currents.
Despite the large number of nominations received, the jury noted that several nominations either did not provide enough information about their citations to warrant an accurate assessment or did not meet the criteria of the award guidelines. Future contributors are encouraged to include as much information as possible, providing detailed descriptions of circumstances and events.
Three merchant vessels involved in migrant rescue operations, named by Croatia, the Philippines and INTERTANKO, meet the criteria for special recognition for merchant vessels and their crew involved in the rescue of mixed migrants at sea (according to resolution A.1093(29)). They will receive certificates for this recognition.
IMO Awards Ceremony
About the IMO Award for Outstanding Gallantry at Sea
This annual award was established by the IMO to provide international recognition to those who, at the risk of losing their lives, perform acts of outstanding bravery, displaying exceptional courage in attempting to save lives at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment. Such acts of bravery may also involve extraordinary seamanship skills in very difficult conditions or any other display of exceptional courage.
Applications were reviewed by an evaluation committee comprising representatives of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA), the International Federation of Ships Masters Associations (IFSMA ), the International Lifesaving Union (ISU), the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The Evaluation Committee submitted its recommendations to a panel of IMO Council and Committee Chairpersons, who met on 27 June 2022 to select the award winners.