A Chinese rescue diver who led a series of dives to help rescue six crew members from a sunken cargo ship will receive the 2018 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery At Sea, the International Maritime Organization has announced.
The rescue started 27 November 2017 when the bulk carrier M/V Jin Ze Lun collided with another ship in Guangzhou Port, China, causing the bulk carrier to sink in the main channel to the port. Of the 14 crew on board, two were immediately rescued but 12 remained missing.
The award recipient, Mr. Zhong Haifeng, was a senior diver and deputy of the Engineering Team at Guangzhou Salvage and put in charge of the desperate search for survivors.
Facing strong currents, Haifeng organized a series dives resulting in the discovery of six missing crew members trapped inside an air pocket of a cabin. After their discovery, the team worked to replenish oxygen and talk to the trapped survivors to calm them.
Haifeng even dove down to deliver scuba diving equipment for those trapped.
The following day, Haifeng made six dives to help teach survivors how to use the scuba gear before helping them to the surface.
He is personally credited with rescuing three of the crew members over the course of just one hour.
Mr. Haifeng was nominated for the award by China.
A Panel of Judges agreed that Mr. Haifeng demonstrated “truly exceptional bravery and human spirit” during the rescue “by personally exerting tireless efforts under highly dangerous circumstances,” making it deserving of the IMO’s highest award for bravery at sea.
The decision was endorsed by the IMO Council last week at its 120th session in London.
Of a total of 22 qualifying nominations for this year’s award, another three will receive Certificates of Commendation and eight will receive Letters of Commendation.
The awards will be presented during an IMO Awards ceremony to be held on 6 December 2018 at IMO Headquarters in London.