Winner of the IMRF Award 2018 for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation
Captain Siddarth Sharma won the individual award for his actions to save two French fishermen who had been drifting for three days on a sinking fishing boat.
He was the master of ITB ASTAL-LORIDA, employed by Trinitas Ship Management and based in India and he says that he simply did what every seafarer should do – to save anyone in distress at sea.
The rescue took place on 11 January 2018 about midday. Captain Siddarth Sharma was on the bridge and spotted the boat about 2.5 kilometers away. He immediately decided to take action - calling on all of the crew to help.
The fishermen had been drifting for three days in very rough weather, strong winds and heavy rain.
Their food and water had been washed away, the boat’s engine had failed and they’d lost the anchor in the severe weather conditions.
It took three arduous attempts over three hours in lashing winds and strong swells to bring the weak and starving fishermen onboard Captain Siddarth’s ship.
They used the pilot ladder on the port side along with lifejackets, lifebuoys and fired the line throwing apparatus three times to try and reach them until they were eventually successful.
The rescued fishermen were handed over to the French navy at Mayotte, which was a diversion from the ship’s planned passage and had to be agreed with the ship’s owners and company first.
Captain Siddarth Sharma says that; “It is every seafarer’s and Master’s solemn duty to save souls in distress at sea. I just did what any seafarer should do. Yes, it was an instant decision, but not without assessing the risks involved. I just did my duty.”