Officers and crewmembers of the Crowley Maritime-managed Ocean Glory were recently honoured with a 2016 Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Mariners’ Plaque for demonstrating heroism at sea during the United Seamen’s Service’s (USS) annual AOTOS awards ceremony in New York.
The mariners were recognised for their August 2016 rescue of an Indonesian fisherman in the vicinity of the Bali Strait while en route to Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Accepting the award on behalf of the ship’s officers and crew was Captain Christopher Hill, master on the Ocean Glory.
The account of the incident provided by Capt Hill said that an officer on watch reported seeing a man standing atop an overturned, outrigger fishing boat. The man, who had become stranded about 20 hours earlier after his boat capsized during a squall, was caught in a strong current and was quickly being swept out of the Bali Strait and into the open, unfrequented region of the Indian Ocean.
Ocean Glory notified the Indonesian Coast Guard and, while awaiting their assistance, attempted to pass a lifejacket via the ship’s heaving line to the distressed fisherman. During that time, the fisherman lost his footing and fell into the water while still holding the end of the ship’s heaving line. The ship’s pilot ladder was quickly rigged and all hands on deck worked together to quickly drag the fisherman alongside the ship’s hull and to the ladder, where he was able to climb aboard before collapsing from exhaustion and dehydration.
“While being treated by the ship’s medical officer, he tearfully thanked everyone around him without knowing or needing a word of English and insisted, even in his weakened condition, on shaking everyone’s hands … he was so thankful to be alive,” said Capt Hill.
Upon arrival in Tanjung Wangi, an Indonesian medical team transported the survivor to the hospital, but not before the ship’s crew and onboard members of the US Army donated shoes, clothes and money to help speed the man’s recovery and return home.
“On behalf of everyone at Crowley, we want to commend crew of the Ocean Glory for their truly heroic act,” said Wendy MacDonald, Vice President, Global Ship Management. “Capt Hill and his crew showed extraordinary compassion and skill to ensure their safety while rescuing a fellow mariner. Without the crew’s bravery, that fisherman may not be alive today.”
The Ocean Glory is operated by Intermarine LLC through its US-flag affiliate, US Ocean LLC, as part of its US-flag heavy-lift service. Crowley began managing vessels for Intermarine in October 2011. This US-flag, heavy-lift/multipurpose cargo vessel operates around the world and is 171 metres long with a gross tonnage of 21,185.