Heroes at sea honoured at Society awards ceremony
Three remarkable stories of skill and gallantry at sea have been recognised and rewarded at the Society’s SKill & Gallantry Awards, held in London this week.
The skipper of a fishing vessel, the captain of a large merchant vessel, a boat owner’s son and a committed charity volunteer were among those celebrated by the Society, for their bravery at sea and dedication to supporting those in need.
The Lady Swaythling Trophy was awarded to Captain Richard Hoey, of the MV Maersk Montana, for ensuring the extraordinary safe recovery of the crew of a sinking sailing vessel in the North Atlantic in September 2019.
Captain Hoey was praised for his calm and professional approach, showcasing expert crew management and ship handling to complete a remarkable rescue.
The Emile Robin Award, for an ‘outstanding rescue’, was presented to Lewis Mulhearn, the skipper of the potting fishing vessel, Galwad Y Mor.
In December 2020, Galwad Y Mor was operating in crabbing grounds north of Cromer when an underwater explosion raised the vessel up from the sea surface. Despite suffering from three broken vertebrae, a broken sternum, knee damage, a broken orbital bone and multiple face lacerations, the skipper managed to prepare his crew to abandon ship and in perilous conditions, orchestrated the rescue by an offshore support vessel of all six individuals on board.
An Individual Commendation was awarded to Peter Paterson, son of the owner of a sinking sea angling vessel, for the rescue of the skipper and six crew members in August 2020.
With a mayday call relayed to him by a local fisherman, Mr Paterson rushed to his own boat and persuaded a friend to act as his crew as he began the rescue of those on board, several of whom could not swim or had not donned their life jackets correctly.
Expertly manoeuvring his boat and with the skilled assistance of his crew member, he picked up the first two casualties before positioning to embark the remaining five. Once aboard, he transported all of the casualties back to Kinlochbervie Harbour, where the emergency services were waiting to provide medical support.
A Lord Lewin Award for outstanding service to the charity was also presented to one of the Society’s volunteers. Claire McIntosh, the Honorary Agent for Eyemouth, was honoured for her dedicated casework and exceptional commitment to the maritime community in the Scottish Borders town.
The honours were presented at the Society’s 170th annual Skill & Gallantry Awards by the charity’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.
Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Captain Justin Osmond RN, commented: “Our Skill and Gallantry Awards are a fantastic opportunity for the maritime community to celebrate the brave, unsung heroes of the industry.
“The maritime sector is not only vital to the UK, but those working at sea can also find themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature, so it is hugely important that we recognise the remarkable and selfless acts that are carried out every single year off our shores and those around the world.
“We are also honoured to celebrate individuals within the charity that give so much of their time to supporting the maritime community, enabling us to help those in need. Their work has been as important as ever over the past 18 months and we are so grateful for their contributions during this challenging period.”
The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society offers support to those across the UK that are suffering hardship during, or after fulfilling their life at sea. The charity aims to offer support to seafarers, and their dependants, to make a positive difference to their lives. The charity continues to provide help to thousands of individuals each year by offering financial and practical support to those in need and last year launched a £1m COVID-19 support fund to further help seafarers in need affected by the pandemic.