Winners of the H.E.R.O. Awards announced

The International Maritime Rescue Federation has announced the international winners of its second IMRF H.E.R.O Awards, 2017.

The awards were presented to a selection of exceptional individuals and organisations, who have demonstrated outstanding bravery, professional expertise and innovation in the world of maritime search and rescue (SAR).

The winners are:

Anton Tasanen, the first mate of a dry bulk carrier who won the individual award, for jumping into rough seas to rescue an unconscious crewmate using the vessels mooring winch.

MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) won the team award, for the crew of the Phoenix who prevented the mass drownings of more than 1,800 people in the Mediterranean over just one weekend.

The UK’s RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016 won the Innovation & Technology award for their international programme working with new and developing SAR organisations.  The team helps them to build leadership skills, implement processes and enhance training, leading drowning prevention in countries where it’s a major cause of death.

The Association of Maritime and River Rescue in Uruguay (ADES) won the Vladimir Maksimov H.E.R.O. Award for Lifetime Achievement, with special recognition for two volunteers Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio who established and built the organisation into the esteemed institution it is today.

The winners, from around the world, were announced at a presentation ceremony held at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, UK.   The RNLI also nominated three Local H.E.R.O.s recognising the outstanding contribution of three long service lifeboat volunteers.

Richard Tollett, Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager retired on Friday 21st July at the age 70, after almost 50 years of service. During this time he was involved with 1,130 launches, rescuing a record 932 people and saving 189 lives.

Meanwhile, Rod and Carole Brown have volunteered and fundraised tirelessly for Poole lifeboat station, for over 24 years. Rod held the role of Lifeboat Operation Manager managing the operational activities at the lifeboat station and authorising the launch of a lifeboat while Carole worked as treasurer providing Rod with full PA and admin support.

Last but not least, for the first time the IMRF awarded a People’s Choice H.E.R.O. Award to the finalist with the most ‘likes’ on the organisation’s Facebook page.  The Award had been actively promoted through social media to the organisation’s members, stakeholders, friends and families. The successful winner was the Association of Maritime and River Rescue in Uruguay (ADES), who gathered the most ‘likes’ from around the world, before the closing deadline.

Theresa Crossley, CEO IMRF said; “We have been able to recognise and applaud some exceptional SAR professionals in this years’ IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards.  The level of selfless bravery and commitment to saving lives at sea demonstrated by our winners and runners up, is both humbling and awe inspiring.

She added: “I am delighted to congratulate Richard Tollett, Carole and Rod Brown for their long service and outstanding dedication to the Rye and Poole lifeboat stations, and thank them for their exceptional contribution.

“There are more and more organisations around the world that are dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea and in inland waters, the IMRF HERO Awards seek to raise awareness of this work and to encourage countries around the world to create and improve their own SAR resources to reduce the number of drowning deaths.”

The H.E.R.O Awards 2017 are supported by lead sponsors Orolia/McMurdo and sponsors Inmarsat and Pole Star.