The International Maritime Rescue Federation has announced the international winners of its second IMRF H.E.R.O Awards 2017
The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) H.E.R.O. Awards 2017 have been presented to a selection of exceptional individuals and organisations, who have demonstrated outstanding bravery, professional expertise and innovation in the world of maritime search and rescue (SAR).
The Winners Were
Anton Tasanen, the first mate of a dry bulk carrier who won the individual award, for jumping into rough seas to rescue an unconscious crewmate using the vessels mooring winch.
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 just one weekend.
The UK’s RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016 won the Innovation & Technology award for their international programme working with new and developing SAR organisations. 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 organisation into the esteemed institution it is today.
The winners, from around the world, were announced on Thursday 2 November, at a presentation ceremony held at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, UK. The RNLI also nominated three Local H.E.R.O.s recognising the outstanding contribution of three long service lifeboat volunteers.
Richard Tollett, Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager retired on Friday 21 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 fundraised 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 authorising the launch of a lifeboat while Carole worked as treasurer providing Rod with full PA and admin support.
Last but not least, 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 organisation’s Facebook page. The Award had been actively promoted through social media to the organisation’s members, stakeholders, friends and families. The successful winner was the Association of Maritime and River Rescue in Uruguay (ADES), who gathered the most ‘likes’ from around the world, before the closing deadline.
Theresa Crossley, CEO IMRF said; “We have been able to recognise and applaud some exceptional SAR professionals in this years’ IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards. The level of selfless bravery and commitment to saving lives at sea demonstrated by our winners and runners up, is both humbling and awe inspiring.
She added: “I am delighted to congratulate Richard Tollett, Carole and Rod Brown for their long service and outstanding dedication to the Rye and Poole lifeboat stations, and thank them for their exceptional contribution.
“There are more and more organisations around the world that are dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea and in inland waters, the IMRF HERO Awards seek to raise awareness of this work and to encourage countries around the world to create and improve their own SAR resources to reduce the number of drowning deaths.”
About the Winners
• Mr Anton Tasanen, winner of the IMRF H.E.R.O. Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR. When dry bulk carrier MS Prima Donna’s crew were alerted by the man overboard alarm, First Mate Tasanen took charge of the rescue operation on the deck. When Tasanen realised the man overboard was unconscious and the situation was life-threatening, he told the crew that he would jump 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 IMRF H.E.R.O. Award for Outstanding Team Contribution to a Maritime Search and Rescue Operation. Over the course of just one weekend in April, MOAS boat the Phoenix and its crew worked tirelessly in rough seas in the Mediterranean to rescue 1,800 desperate people in woefully inadequate boats, preventing many mass drownings and conveying them to safety.
• RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016 won the Award for Innovation & Technology in Maritime SAR. The programme works with new and developing search and rescue organisations to support and train individuals as future leaders of their organisations, helping them to improve organisational practices and behaviour, leading drowning prevention in countries where it is a major cause of death. The course is split into three core themes: individual and organisational leadership, operational service implementation and development, and organisational development, giving the delegates the knowledge and skills required to lead individuals and teams within their organisation. The topics include everything from how to set up and manage an operational SAR station, to delivering appropriate training through to fundraising, financial management, working with stakeholders, marketing and media skills. The structured sessions are facilitated by RNLI subject matter experts and followed by a 12-month mentoring programme.
• The Vladimir Maksimov H.E.R.O. Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to the ADES, Association of Maritime and River Rescue Uruguay, particularly in recognition of two individuals who had been integral to its establishment and development, Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio. Captain Sagüés was an invaluable member of the team, serving on multiple lifesaving missions, becoming an effective international ambassador and leading the development of South American maritime search and rescue. Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio took it upon himself to create an exemplary maritime search and rescue institution, through his passion for the sea and a dedication to lifesaving. Together they have worked to help ADES to become the successful, highly effective and valued organisation that it is today.
• The People’s Choice Award was given to ADES, Association of Maritime and River Rescue Uruguay. The organisation had secured the most Facebook ‘likes’ by 1700hrs GMT on Thursday 2 November 2017 following a week of promotion across the IMRF’s social media channels, and communications with members.
The H.E.R.O Awards 2017 are supported by lead sponsors Orolia/McMurdo - global leader in emergency response and readiness and sponsors Inmarsat, global satellite owner and operator which provides mobile and fixed communications services to the maritime industry. Pole Star which has been proudly serving the maritime sector by increasing safety and security at sea for 20 years and 8 West Consulting, the company that developed SafeTrx, the vessel tracking smartphone application.