The International Maritime Rescue Federation has announced the winners of its second H.E.R.O Awards which are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding bravery, professional expertise and innovation in maritime search and rescue.
The winners are:
Anton Tasanen, the first mate of the bulk carrier MS Prima Donna, won the individual award. When the vessel's crew were alerted by the man overboard alarm, Tasanen took charge of the rescue operation on the deck. When he realized the man overboard was unconscious and the situation was life-threatening, he jumped into the water. He managed to wrap the rope in the water around himself and the man overboard, allowing the crew to use the vessel's mooring winch to pull them both back onto the boat. In the process of saving the man's life, he fractured seven of his ribs and broke two more.
MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) won the team award, for the crew of vessel the Phoenix who prevented the mass drownings of more than 1,800 people in the Mediterranean over one weekend.
The U.K.'s RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016 won the Innovation & Technology award for their international program working with new and developing SAR organizations. The team helps them to build leadership skills, implement processes and enhance training, leading drowning prevention in countries where it's a major cause of death.
The Association of Maritime and River Rescue in Uruguay (ADES) won the Vladimir Maksimov H.E.R.O. Award for Lifetime Achievement, with special recognition for two volunteers Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio who established and built the organization into the esteemed institution it is today.
The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, U.K. The RNLI also nominated three Local H.E.R.O.s recognizing the outstanding contribution of three long service lifeboat volunteers:
Richard Tollett, Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager retired in July at the age 70, after almost 50 years of service. During this time he was involved with 1,130 launches, rescuing a record 932 people and saving 189 lives.
Meanwhile, Rod and Carole Brown have volunteered and conducted fundraising tirelessly for Poole lifeboat station, for over 24 years. Rod held the role of Lifeboat Operation Manager managing the operational activities at the lifeboat station and authorizing the launch of a lifeboat while Carole worked as treasurer providing Rod with full admin support.
For the first time the IMRF awarded a People's Choice H.E.R.O. Award to the finalist with the most “likes” on the organization's Facebook page. The winner was the Association of Maritime and River Rescue in Uruguay.
The H.E.R.O Awards 2017 are supported by lead sponsors Orolia/McMurdo and sponsors Inmarsat, Pole Star and 8 West Consulting.