The IMRF Honouring Excellence in Rescue Operations (H.E.R.O.) Awards 2016, in Partnership with McMurdo

Posted in LIFELINE December 2016 - English Version

Hero/Heroine: A person who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through impressive feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength.

Maritime search and rescue is a world full of heroes and heroines, they are all around you! In coastal communities they are the baker and the bin man who jump onto a lifeboat when the pager goes off; they are the helicopter crew who battle through storms to rescue the survivors from a sinking ship; at the beach they are the lifeguards who are always ready to pull a drowning casualty from the water; they are the engineers designing equipment which will saves lives for generations to come; they are the inventors who have an idea for apps that help rescuers locate you when your yacht is in difficulties. In April this year the IMRF, in partnership with McMurdo, set out to find these heroes/heroines and honour their excellence in rescue operations.

Stories of dedication, selflessness, innovation, courage and bravery dominated the events held in Washington D.C., USA and Lisbon, Portugal when the winners of the IMRF’s H.E.R.O. Awards were announced and we are delighted to announce the winners.

IMG 0516smallThe IMRF H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding service to maritime search and rescue, ‘The Vladimir Maksimov Award’, sponsored by Inmarsat: Mohammed Drissi.

Mohammed has worked selflessly as the Regional Coordinator for IMO for the Rabat SAR region linking 6 bordering countries developing their SAR management and coordination capabilities. Over the past 12 months he expanded this work to combine the Liberian RCC Region, 5 additional countries, as well as including observers from Nigeria. The Vladimir Maksimov Award commemorates the lifetime dedication of Vladimir Maksimov who, as Director SOLAS Services, was a champion of Inmarsat’s Maritime Safety Services and at the heart of both technical innovation and regulations enhancing safety for over 25 years.

IMG 1673smallThe International Maritime Rescue Federation H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding individual contribution to a maritime SAR operation in 2015-16: Captain Hervé Lepage.

Captain Lepage is Master of CMA CGM ROSSINI and he and his crew were nominated for the highly commendable and skilled mission to rescue the crew of the upturned catamaran Llama Lo off the South African Wild Coast on 18th October 2015. Mr Sadi Resdedant received the H.E.R.O. Award on Captain Lepage's behalf.

IMG 1674smallThe International Maritime Rescue Federation H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding team contribution to a maritime SAR operation 2015-16: The Proactiva Open Arms Team.

This was awarded for the traumatic rescue of several hundred victims of people smuggling, whose vessel broke apart in the sea of Lesbos with considerable loss of life. The team found hundreds of people in the water, some being kept afloat by large pieces of wood, that had once been part of their boat. The prize was received by Mr. Oscar Camps and Mr. Gerard Canals.

IMG 0457smallThe International Maritime Rescue Federation H.E.R.O. Award for innovation and technology in maritime search and rescue: RNLI/ James Benson/Bournemouth University.

The RNLI & Bournemouth University - Design Department have worked together with inventor James Benson to develop his original and innovative design. The “Bottle Buoy” is aimed at low resource communities, and is a minimum cost flotation device that can be used as public rescue equipment and for swimming instruction. The device is simple, allows 3 plastic bottles to be attached to a central hub producing around 60N of buoyancy.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre - MRCC Lisboa & MRCC Delgada. In 2015, the Portuguese SAR Service (MRCC Lisboa and Delgada) registered a total of 636 SAR events, that resulted in 501 lives saved.

The judges also made Special Commendation Awards to the NGOs acting in the Mediterranean and to the Italian Coast Guard & the MRCC in Rome for their life saving work for refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean and the Aegean.

IMG 0601Congratulations from the IMRF, and McMurdo, to all the H.E.R.O. Awards winners and the entire search and rescue community for your commitment to preparing for emergencies, responding to crises and, ultimately, saving lives on the world’s waters.

hero winners

We are now searching for the next H.E.R.O. The IMRF is now accepting entries for the 2017 H.E.R.O. Awards. Please go to for more information.

Contact Info

International Maritime Rescue Federation
50 Allardice Street
AB39 2RA
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0) 1569 767405

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