London/Mumbai: History is created by Captain Radhika Menon, the first woman captain of Indian merchant navy. Captain Menon, master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya, is to receive the 2016 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for her role in the dramatic rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous seas (2.5 kilometres away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Orissa). Captain Menon will be the first female in the world to receive the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
The IMO Council, meeting for its 116th session in London, endorsed the decision of a Panel of Judges that Captain Menon displayed great determination and courage in leading the difficult rescue operation in the Bay of Bengal in June last year. The International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. Captain Menon was nominated by the Government of India, for the rescue of all seven fishermen from the fishing boat Durgamma, which was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather. Food and water had been washed away and they were surviving on ice from the cold storage.
Through wave heights of more than 25 feet, winds of more than 60 knots and heavy rain, on 22 June 2016, the second officer on the Sampurna Swarajya spotted the boat 2.5 kilometres away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Orissa. Captain Menon immediately ordered a rescue operation, utilising the pilot ladder and with life jackets and buoys on standby and was successful in her operations.
The Awards ceremony is expected to take place at IMO Headquarters, on 21 November, at the end of the first day of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). The recipient of the Award is invited to a special ceremony at IMO to receive a medal and a certificate citing the act of exceptional bravery performed.
There are three categories of honour: first, the Award itself, for the nominee judged to have performed the most outstanding act of bravery from among those described. Secondly, Certificates of Commendation are awarded to nominees who have committed acts of extraordinary bravery. And, thirdly, Letters of Commendation are sent to those nominees who are judged to deserve some special recognition for meritorious actions.