2016 first Indian and first Woman in the world to receive IMO award for EXCEPTIONAL BRAVERY AT SEA.
The Master of an oil tanker who says she was "just doing her job" has received the highest IMO bravery recognition for saving the lives of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat during a tumultuous alarm in the Bay of Bengal in June 2015.
"lt is every seafarer's and Master's solemn duty and obligation to save souls in distress of sea. I just did what a seafarer should do far fellow souls in distress at sea. Yes, it was an instant decision, but not without assessing the risks involved. I just did my duty," said Captain Radhika Menon, Master of the oil products tanker SAMPURNA SWARAJYA.
Captain Menon is the first female captain in the Indian Merchant Navy and the first female ta receive the IMA Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. Captain Menon was nominated for the award by the Government of India, for her great determination and courage in leading the difficult rescue operation to save all seven fishermen from the fishing boat Durgamma.
The boat was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather. Food and water had been washed away and they were surviving an ice from the cold storage. Through wave heights of more than 25 feet, winds of more than 60 knots and heavy rain, on 22 June 2015, the second officer on the SAMPURNA SWARAJYA spotted the boat 2.5 kilometers away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Orissa.
Captain Menon immediately ordered a rescue operation, utilizing the pilot ladder and with life jackets and buoys on standby. lt took three arduous attempts in the lashing wind and rain and heavy swells, before all seven weak and starving fishermen, aged from l5 ta 50 years old, and brought ta safety on board the ship. Their families had already given them up for dead and were preparing for their funeral rites, but thanks to the rescue, led by Captain Menon they were reunited with their loved ones a few days later.