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Seafarer honored for bravery by IMO

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - For rescuing a sailor who suffered hypothermia while on a solo voyage, a Filipino seaman has been honored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for exceptional bravery at sea.

In ceremonies held recently at the IMO headquarters in London, Vicente Somera of M/V Lars Maersk was handed a certificate of commendation by IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu “for his role in rescuing, in treacherous sea conditions, gale force winds and total darkness and after three challenging hours, a hypothermic sailor who had sustained several life-threatening falls attempting to repair an oil leak on his sailing vessel and who had jumped overboard in an attempt to retrieve a messenger line which had been thrown to him.”

Aside from Somera, nine other individuals received commendations for various cases of rescue at sea. Somera is the only seafarer cited in this year’s award, all the others being mostly crewmembers of rescue units. The 2015 Exceptional Bravery at Sea Award was given to Aviation Survival Technician Christopher Leon of the US Coast Guard.

Somera was recognized for his daring rescue of Steve Collins in August 2014, who suffered hypothermia after his vessel encountered trouble in the waters of Australia and New Zealand. He was on a solo voyage on Enya II from Australia to New Zealand.

Collins had jumped overboard to retrieve a messenger line thrown to him by crewmembers of a passing ship and was already hypothermic when rescued by Somera.

Several members of the MV Lars Maersk crew then ran down to help the survivor climb up the vessel’s side to the main deck some 20 meters above the water.

Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Enrique Manalo, who is also the country’s permanent representative to the IMO, witnessed the awarding ceremony together with Mick Kinley, chief executive officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Agency, which nominated Somera for the award.

“One can only be in awe of Mr. Somera’s willingness to risk his life in order to save a human life at sea,” Manalo said at the awards ceremonies.

“His actions are emblematic of Filipino seafarers’ professionalism and dedication to their work,” he added.

 

ACIRC

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

AUSTRALIAN MARITIME SAFETY AGENCY

AVIATION SURVIVAL TECHNICIAN CHRISTOPHER LEON

COAST GUARD

EXCEPTIONAL BRAVERY

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION

LARS MAERSK

MICK KINLEY

MR. SOMERA

SOMERA

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