Award Presentation, with the widow and the mother of Sergeant Janick Gilbert
The 2012 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea will go to members of rescue crews from Canada and Chile for their actions in saving the lives of persons in distress at sea.
The IMO Council has decided that the award for Canada will go to:
Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously),
Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and
Master Corporal Marco Journeyman,
crew members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 424 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, nominated by the Government of Canada; and to Mr. César Flores Flores, a rescue swimmer in the aerial detachment of the Chilean Navy, nominated by the Government of Chile.
Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously), Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman were nominated for saving the lives of two Inuit hunters, who were stranded in an open boat in icy waters near Igloolik, Nunavut, in freezing temperatures, strong winds and 20 to 30 foot (six to nine metre) swells, during an operation that lasted five hours, in October 2011.
424 Squadron was initially deployed to investigate the situation. The two hunters were found in a liferaft which had filled with cold water. They had stopped communicating by radio. Despite the adverse and extremely dangerous conditions, team leader Sergeant Janick Gilbert decided that a parachute jump was required. The sun had already set, leaving just 30 minutes until full darkness. Sergeant Gilbert, Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman parachuted from an aircraft from a height of some 2000 feet (around 600 metres) above their calculated release point. Master Corporal Lahaye-Lemay was able to swim to the raft where he provided assistance to the men until recovered by helicopter approximately five hours later. Master Corporal Journeyman swam until he was exhausted but, realizing he could not close the distance to the raft, finally deployed his personal one-man life raft, until he, too, was recovered by helicopter. Sergeant Janick Gilbert landed furthest from the raft and was later found floating in the sea; upon arrival ashore, he was pronounced dead.
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Able Seaman (Cabo 2°) César Flores Flores,
Armada de Chile
Recipient of 2012 International Maritime Organization Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea
César Flores Flores, was selected for his role as rescue swimmer in the operation to rescue the crew of the motor launch Rosita V, undertaken by the Chilean Navy aerial detachment from Puerto Montt, Fifth Naval Zone, at Locos islet, in extremely dangerous, stormy conditions.
In a northerly wind of 55 knots, and with gusts of 75 knots, low cloud, high waves and reduced visibility owing to heavy rain, the rescue helicopter located the launch stranded between two rocks. Large waves passed over the half-sunken launch, battering it against the rocks and causing it to shift abruptly. Despite the severe turbulence, the pilot managed to position the aircraft over the launch, at a safe height to avoid the engines being cut off by the breaking waves, and the rescue swimmer was lowered by winch.
Mr Flores Flores rescued seven survivors, wounded and suffering from hypothermia. As he began raising the last one from the deck, a wave caused the vessel to lurch and the winch cable became entangled with the HF antenna and the signal mast, endangering both the swimmer and the helicopter. But Mr Flores Flores was able to disentangle the cable and bring the last survivor up safely. After disembarking the crew members, the helicopter returned to the scene immediately to resume the search, using the last of its fuel. After recovering one lifeless body, the helicopter returned to refuel, took off again and recovered another body from the sea.
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Roger Jackson in his inshore lifeboat kit
(Photo credit: Nigel Millard
Helmsman Roger Jackson was presented with The Lady Swaythling Trophy at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards, which recognise the UK’s unsung heroes who risk their lives in dangerous sea and air rescues, on October 2.
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At any moment one or more individuals, at one or more locations, are engaging in selfless acts of bravery in performance of Search And Rescue. Some of these individuals will be private persons who see a situation and react without thought to their own safety. Many will be personnel serving in a Search And Rescue organization that may be a charity, or an organization operated and/or funded by a government agency.
A great many brave acts go largely unnoticed, but all deserve recognition.
Many Search And Rescue organizations have their own Bravery Award schemes which issue Letters of Commendation and formal Awards and Medals. Some organizations have been established specifically to issue awards. Nations establish their own systems of Bravery Awards. There are also International Bravery Awards, such as the International Maritime Organization Bravery Awards. Organizations, such as the Royal Humane Society, were established to recognize extreme bravery in saving life at sea.
All schemes have in common a limitation on the number of awards made in any period. This means that many acts of bravery do not result in an award and, where a group of people are involved in an incident, where all of them accept personal risk, an award may only be made to one member of the group.
The rarest awards are those issued by International organizations and those highest honours awarded by governments. For individuals who receive such an award, we may be assured that their act of bravery was not only special as a selfless act, but that they demonstrated the most extreme act of bravery and endurance in attempting to save others.
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