The Australian Government has nominated the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (Hunter Region) for the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
The Government’s nomination of the Service and its helicopter crew is in recognition of the outstanding bravery they showed while rescuing 22 crew members from the bulk carrier, Pasha Bulker, following its grounding in gale force winds and heavy seas off Newcastle’s Nobbys Beach in June 2007.
The helicopter rescue involved the winching of each crew member from the stranded ship in severe weather conditions, with all safely evacuated without injury.
The rescue personnel – Pilots, Captain Ian McFadden and Captain Ian Osborne; Crew Chief, Graham Nickisson; Aircrewman, Peter Praniess; and Rescue Crewmen, Glen Ramplin and Nathan Langham – all risked their own lives, with their courage and professionalism widely acknowledged.
The nomination reflects the Government’s appreciation and admiration of their selfless work at the scene of one of Australia’s major maritime incidents.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority – the national search and rescue coordinator – this rescued involved the biggest airlift from a bulk carrier in recent Australian maritime history.
The Award was instigated by the IMO to provide international recognition for acts of exceptional bravery at sea.