Canadian and Chilean rescuers have been presented with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea 2012, during a special ceremony held on 26 November 2012 at IMO Headquarters in London.
Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously), Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman, crew members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 424 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, were nominated by the Government of Canada, in recognition of the exceptional bravery which was displayed by them, in saving the lives of two Inuit hunters stranded in an open boat in icy waters near Igloolik, Nunavut.
Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman accepted their certificates in person, while Mrs. Mélisa Lesquir, Sergeant Gilbert’s widow, and his mother Mrs. Diane Pageau Gilbert, accepted his certificate on his behalf, and received the medal for the joint winners. They were accompanied at the ceremony by His Excellency Mr. Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom.
Able Seaman César Flores, a rescue swimmer in the aerial detachment of the Chilean Navy, was nominated by the Government of Chile, in recognition of the exceptional bravery which he displayed in rescuing seven survivors from the motor launch Rosita V, in Locos islet, Moraleda Channel, in extremely dangerous weather, and at considerable risk to his own life.
Able Seaman Flores received his certificate and award in person. He was accompanied by His Excellency. Mr. Tomás E. Müller Sproat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Chile to IMO.
Certificates to highly commended nominees
In addition to the Award itself, certificates were also presented to the following “highly commended” nominees or their representatives:
Mr. Guangling Li, Counsellor (Maritime), Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, received certificates on behalf of: Mr. Wang Haijie, diver of the rescue vessel Bei Hai Jiu 116, Beihai Rescue Bureau, nominated by China, for rescuing four fishermen trapped under water in the cabin of the capsized fishing vessel Liao Dan Yu 26628; and the crew of the rescue ship Dong Hai Jiu 116, Donghai Rescue Bureau, nominated by China, for saving the 12 crew members of the stranded containership Jade in very difficult weather conditions, with the rescue boat capsizing in the process.
Coxswain Adrian Johannes Gunter, Crewman Leon Pretorius and Crewman Quentin Diener, volunteer crewmen of the rescue boat Queenie Paine, Station 33, Witsand, National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa, were nominated by South Africa, for the risky search and rescue operation of the four crew members of the catamaran yacht Gulliver, in dangerous weather conditions.They were at the ceremony to receive their certificates, accompanied by Mr. Ntuli Dumisani Alternate Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to IMO.
Letters of commendation have been sent to the following:
The crew of the search and rescue helicopter B-7137; Nanhai No.1 Rescue Flying Service; the crew of the Chang Hang Hong Tu; the crew of the Jin Guang Ling; and the crew of the fishing boat Min Ping Yu 61597. All nominated by China;
Warrant Officer Samuel Fourel of the Lezardrieux Naval Unit, Brittany Regional Gendarmerie, nominated by France; Captain José Eric González Ramos of the vessel Bourbon Artabaze; Captain Rubén Daniel Vargas Cobos of the vessel Isla del Toro; and Captain Manuel Ares Gondell of the vessel Árbol Grande, all nominated by Mexico;
The crews of the containerships MOL Summer, MSC Carole, Zhong He and Cap Scott, as well as the crew of the bulk carrier Violet, nominated by Papua New Guinea, China and Bulgaria, following the coordinated rescue of 246 passengers from the sunken passenger ship Rabaul Queen;
Captain Ely C. Sinoy and the crew of the Daio Azalea, nominated by the Philippines;
Lieutenant Commander Brian P. Hopkins, Lieutenant Junior Grade Andrew P. Lund, Chief Aviation Survival Technician Randall J. Rice; and
Second Class Aviation Maintenance Technician Alejandro M. Delgado, crew of the US Coast Guard helicopter CG 6004, Air Station Cape Cod, nominated by the United States of America.