2011 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea to go to piracy survivor
From the latest IMO News Magazine
The 2011 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea will be awarded to Captain Seog Hae-gyun of the Republic of Korea, Master of the chemical tanker Samho Jewelry. He was nominated by the Government of the Republic of Korea for his heroic actions to keep his vessel and crew safe, while suffering vicious assaults, following a hijack by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The Council agreed that Captain Seog displayed truly extraordinary bravery and concern for his crew after his ship was hijacked in the Indian Ocean in January 2011, going far beyond the call of duty, at great risk and danger to himself. With the pirates onboard, Captain Seog steered the vessel away from the Somali coast, watered down the fuel to prevent combustion, pretended the steering gear was not working properly and reduced the vessel’s speed. He also managed, surreptitiously, to communicate information to naval forces, which facilitated a dramatic raid by commandos from the Republic of Korea’s destroyer Choi Young. As a result, all 21 crew members were rescued. During the hijack, Captain Seog was subject to a number of assaults, causing fractures to his legs and shoulders. He was later shot twice in the abdomen and once in the upper thigh, required several surgical operations and almost lost his life.
Of the other nominees or groups of nominees, eight will receive Certificates of Commendation and eleven, Letters of Commendation. In addition, special certificates are to be awarded to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) Falmouth (United Kingdom) and Stavanger (Norway) for their contribution, on several occasions, to search and rescue operations unfolding in distant areas, far away from their respective countries’ SAR regions, and for their dedicated performance over many years.
A total of 38 nominations from 14 Member States and one non-governmental organization in consultative status with IMO were received. The award ceremony will be held on Monday 21 November, the first day of IMO’s biennial Assembly meeting.
The events on the Samho Jewelry took place back at the beginning of the year. It would appear that the Captain was shot by the pirates, but, also by the rescuing Naval team sent in for the rescue. The Capt is pictured smiling and recovering, a couple months after his scary ordeal. I wish him all the best, for a full recovery.
News reports state the Somali Pirates have issued statements that in the future, Korean hostages will be executed, or transferred deep inland, in Somalia. (Gulp…)