Shine the spotlight on exceptional team members and game-changing innovations, says IMRF

The IMRF (International Maritime Rescue Federation) Awards 2019 are now open for nominations, offering a chance to recognise incredible people, new innovations and technologies that make saving lives at sea possible, even in the most difficult and demanding circumstances.

Captain Nikifor Guerchev (pictured), a winner of The IMRF Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Maritime SAR Sector in 2018, and chairman of BULSAR, the Bulgarian maritime search and rescue service, suggests that maybe maritime SAR specialists are distinguished by their altruism and their incredible commitment to helping others.

He explained that: “In every search and rescue mission, you live with the thought that the survival of those in distress depends on you, and so you make every, every effort until even the tiniest possibility of survival is exhausted.”

Although in his case, maybe fate had a hand in it too.  Captain Guerchev was born on 20th July, a day commemorated as St Elias’s day in Bulgaria.  Legend has it that St Elias’s day is the day of the year when the sea will claim its biggest number of victims, so it may have been predestined that Captain Guerchev would devote his entire life to maritime salvage and rescue, saving lives at sea.

The changes in maritime SAR have been great he adds, with technology improving dramatically. In 1975, along the Bulgarian coastline it took an average of 17 hours from raising a distress alert to the mobilisation of the SAR response; 20 years later, it’s less than 17 minutes.

Last year’s IMRF Award winners came from India, the Netherlands, South Africa, Bulgaria, Curacao, Canada and Norway, with nominations from many more countries – confirming that all around the world, search and rescue operators selflessly sacrifice so much, making every effort possible to saves lives at sea.

“The IMRF Awards 2019 are open for nominations and the closing date – 30th June –  is fast approaching, but there is still time to make sure that anyone involved in an exceptional search and rescue operation is recognised and applauded for their actions,” said Theresa Crossley, CEO International Maritime Recue Federation.

“Don’t just think about it. Act now! Visit our website and nominate the people, teams, technologies or innovations that deserve recognition for their contribution to saving lives at sea,” she added.

The IMRF Awards 2019 offer four categories for nominations:

Individual: For Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation

Team: For Outstanding Team Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation

Innovation & Technology: For Innovation and Technology in the field of Maritime SAR

Lifetime Achievement: The Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Maritime SAR Sector.

The 2019 IMRF Awards lunch will take place onboard HQS Wellington, an historic vessel moored on the River Thames in London, on 10th September. This prestigious event will be part of London International Shipping Week (9th – 13th September 2019), a week which attracts high-level government representatives and shipping industry leaders from around the world.

Nominations can be submitted online, or by post. Visit www.international-maritime-rescue.org for more details and to submit a nomination.