Captain Radhika Menon was conferred the 2016 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea….writes Ragasudha Vinjamuri
In a special ceremony that took place at International Maritime Organisation Head Quarters in London, Master of the Tanker Sampurna Swarajya Captain Radhika Menon was conferred the 2016 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea at the hands of IMO Secretary-General Mr Kitack Lim.
Captain Menon is the first female captain in the Indian Merchant Navy and is the first female to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. She was nominated by the Government of India for her great valour and resolve in spearheading the tough rescue operation for saving 7 fishermen’s lives from a capsizing boat Durgamma in Bay of Bengal last year. The fishermen belonged to coastal Andhra Pradesh region and were stuck in rough seas for a week. Another Indian Shri B.M Das, Uttam Navik, received Certificate of Commendation for rescuing 14 crew members of a cargo ship rolling in rough seas and strong winds, during which he himself was washed away.
Certificates of Commendation were also awarded to Mr Tang Shunjie (China) for his tenacity in rescuing a trapped survivor of a capsized fishing boat, Captain Herve Lepage (France) who rescued crew members of the capsized catamaran and Assistant Inspector Kang Seonggyu (Republic of Korea) for rescuing a crew member from a capsized fishing vessel.
The Award was instituted by IMO to recognise those who perform acts of exceptional bravery and courage in saving life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment, at the risk of losing their own life.
A standing ovation was given to Captain Menon as she narrated her gruelling experience of the rescue operation amidst fierce rain and 27-feet high waves.
Speaking at the press conference organised after the award ceremony, Captain Menon narrated how she broke the myth of “It’s men for navy jobs” and became the first radio officer. She thanked her employer Shipping Corporation of India for her success and milestones.