Jul 9, 2010

Australia’s nominee wins international bravery award

Australia’s nominee wins international bravery award

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

July 9 2010

I’m pleased to announce a Fijian involvement in the Australian-coordinated rescue of two crew members from the sunken yacht Sumatra II off the Queensland coast in May 2009 has been honoured with a prestigious international commendation.

Nominated by the Australian Government, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recognised Mr James Fanifau’s selfless act of bravery and awarded him their 2010 Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.

In choosing Mr Fanifau for their top award, the IMO Panel of Judges noted he “…displayed extraordinary bravery and humanitarian concern and had gone far beyond the call of duty, in putting his own life at risk.”

During last year’s rescue, Mr Fanifau climbed over the side of the merchant ship he was crewing to pull an exhausted elderly American from the water and to safety – an act of bravery made even more remarkable by the fact he didn’t have time to secure a safety harness and the ship was rolling in treacherous weather conditions.

I am so glad Mr Fanifau’s actions have been recognised by the world’s supreme maritime body. He embodies the camaraderie and sense of duty that has so distinguished the world’s seafarers for centuries.

The operation was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre whose officers recommended Mr Fanifau for the nomination, noting it was one of the most courageous rescues they had seen in years.

Over the past twelve months, AMSA’s highly dedicated professionals have saved the lives of almost 300 people in distress at sea – a level of success which should be a source of pride for a maritime nation like ours.

The Secretary-General of the IMO will present the award to Mr Fanifau in London in November as part of World Maritime Day celebrations.