Awards Stories - 2016

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Awards Story 2016: Mattias Wengelin

Posted in Awards Stories - 2016

"He's a rock star and it is an honour to serve with the man."

A fine description of Mattias Wengelin, who has spent 10 years working to make Uganda waters safer. He is a role model for younger men/women, who are considering international development as a possible path. He is a mentor to others and has quietly gotten on with what is an incredibly tough, unforgiving job.

It is this dedication that has led to his nomination for a H.E.R.O. award (2016).


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Awards Story 2016: Bat-Amgalen Gursuren

Posted in Awards Stories - 2016

Maritime search and rescue is not limited to oceans, and today’s H.E.R.O story is a perfect example of this:

Mongolia may be landlocked, but the lakes are still a focus for maritime Search and Rescue and recently the IMRF has been involved with a Maritime SAR safety conference in Mongolia.

It, therefore, came as no surprise that one of the H.E.R.O. award nominees is Senior Lieutenant Bat-Amgalan, who is head of the Search and Rescue Branch of Emergency Management Department in the Selenge province of Mongolia.

When flash flooding occurred in Mongolia in May 2016, Senior Lieutenant Bat-Amgalan and his team conducted water rescue and evacuation operations continuously for 3 whole days! The mission covered a territory of more than 100 kilometres and in total 192 adults, 32 children, 75 traditional portable houses and about 2000 heads of livestock were rescued and evacuated from floods areas to safe areas.

Even after the rescue mission was complete, Senior Lieutenant Bat-Amgalan, who has been working for the Emergency Management Organization of Mongolia since 1991, was engaged in flood recovery operations. Thereby ensuring the safety and security of electricians and technical workers, who restored the power supply of the community.

This H.E.R.O. award nomination is testimony to the dedication of Senior Lieutenant Bat-Amgalan Gursuren to Maritime SAR in Mongolia and we are delighted to share his story.


More About Bat-Amgalen Gursuren

Article: 'Mongolia Hosts Seminar on Maritime SAR Safety(new window)

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Awards Story 2016: The Proactiva Open Arms Team

Posted in Awards Stories - 2016

The 28th October 2015 began as many other days on the north shore of Lesvos, with volunteers working from the beach, helping the refugee rubber boats to land safely.

Then the day changed, a huge wooden boat capsized near the border line between Turkey and the north of Lesvos. Over 350 people ended up in the water, surrounded by debris from the lost boat.

The Proactiva Open Arms team, including Oscar Camps and Gerard Canals headed to the area:

"We all had a long experience in rescue, we were coordinators of various rescue services on beaches, and we were equipped. But when we arrived, we began to understand the magnitude of the tragedy."

Amidst that sea of faces, there were some of whom the rescue would not come in time. But that day the Proactiva Open Arms team worked, not only against the elements, but also against the odds to save as many people as possible. And for their efforts in this mission and others Oscar Camps, Gerard Canals & the Proactiva Open Arms team have been nominated for a H.E.R.O. award.


More About The Proactiva Open Arms Team


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Article: Search & Rescue 'Heroes' Announced at First IMRF International Awards Event (new window)

Awards Story 2016: Captain Shashi Prakash, Crew and the RCCNZ

Posted in Awards Stories - 2016

When you are in distress at sea and far from land, you will be hoping for a H.E.R.O. to rescue you and the IMRF Honouring Excellence in Rescue Operations Awards are aimed at bringing recognition to those that rise to this challenge.

Today's H.E.R.O. nominee, Captain Shashi Prakash, had been in command of the 145m container ship, 'Southern Lily', for six years. but had never performed a rescue operation. However, on the 13th June 2016 this changed when he, and all 22 crew members on board, became a vital part of a rescue mission.

They were called by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) to assist the yacht Platino, which had been sailing from Auckland to Fiji, when foul weather tore down the boat's rigging resulting in the death of two crew members.

That night Captain Prakash and his crew navigated 175 nautical miles through stormy seas to reach the stricken yacht. With years of nautical experience behind him, this venture into the world of search and rescue did not faze Captain Prakash and he faced the challenge ahead with calmness and faith in his crew’s abilities: "This was my first experience (of search and rescue) and certainly not a one person job, we needed everyone."

Fourteen hours after diverting to the Platino, the 145m container vessel began approaching the 20m yacht as Airforce Orion monitored the process, and Captain Prakash liased with the crew of the Platino to formulate a rescue plan. Weather conditions were very rough with 32-35 knots and a 3m swell and the yacht began taking on more water. It was now evident that immediate evacuation was vital!

The ship’s crew, utilizing their superior seamanship skills, persevered against the conditions and they succeeded, the survivors were all safely brought on board.

Captain Prakash’s excellence in his very first rescue operation has been honoured by this nomination for a H.E.R.O. Award.


More About Captain Shashi Prakash, Crew and the RCCNZ

Article: Containership ‘Southern Lily’ Rescues Survivors from Damaged Yacht (new window)

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