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Heroic Seamen Honoured With UN Bravery Award

Heroic seamen honoured with UN maritime agency's inaugural bravery award

Two seafarers who risked their lives to save others in a dramatic rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea last year have been presented with the inaugural Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea by the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Second Officer Mustafa Topiwala of the Bahamas-registered oil/bulk ore carrier Searose G and Captain Zvonimir Ostric, who was on the vessel as onboard trainer at the time of the incident, were selected in recognition of their role in the rescue of survivors from the sunken vessel Teklivka, in the eastern Mediterranean in March 2006, the IMO said in a press release.

The Searose G was passing through the Mediterranean, bound for the Suez Canal, when it responded to a distress call from the Maltese-flagged Teklivka, which was sinking 50 miles south in gale force winds.

By the time the Searose G reached the scene, the Teklivka had sunk, but a dramatic rescue operation was launched and the Searose G managed to rescue nine crew members with a further three survivors picked up by another vessel. Tragically, three crew members of the Teklivka were lost.

Mr. Topiwala and Captain Ostric were each presented with a silver medal produced with the support of the Royal Mint of Spain, and a certificate citing the act of exceptional bravery performed, during a special ceremony in London held during the agency's 25th Assembly.

Speaking at the ceremony, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said the award was "a tribute to extraordinary courage; to adversity faced and adversity overcome; to determination in the face of grave danger; and to lives risked and lives saved."

The two men, who were nominated for the Award by the Bahamas and by the International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations, were chosen from among 21 acts of bravery submitted for the honour.

The IMO is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.


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