When you are in distress at sea and far from land, you will be hoping for a H.E.R.O. to rescue you and the IMRF Honouring Excellence in Rescue Operations Awards are aimed at bringing recognition to those that rise to this challenge.
Today's H.E.R.O. nominee, Captain Shashi Prakash, had been in command of the 145m container ship, 'Southern Lily', for six years. but had never performed a rescue operation. However, on the 13th June 2016 this changed when he, and all 22 crew members on board, became a vital part of a rescue mission.
They were called by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) to assist the yacht Platino, which had been sailing from Auckland to Fiji, when foul weather tore down the boat's rigging resulting in the death of two crew members.
That night Captain Prakash and his crew navigated 175 nautical miles through stormy seas to reach the stricken yacht. With years of nautical experience behind him, this venture into the world of search and rescue did not faze Captain Prakash and he faced the challenge ahead with calmness and faith in his crew’s abilities: "This was my first experience (of search and rescue) and certainly not a one person job, we needed everyone."
Fourteen hours after diverting to the Platino, the 145m container vessel began approaching the 20m yacht as Airforce Orion monitored the process, and Captain Prakash liased with the crew of the Platino to formulate a rescue plan. Weather conditions were very rough with 32-35 knots and a 3m swell and the yacht began taking on more water. It was now evident that immediate evacuation was vital!
The ship’s crew, utilizing their superior seamanship skills, persevered against the conditions and they succeeded, the survivors were all safely brought on board.
Captain Prakash’s excellence in his very first rescue operation has been honoured by this nomination for a H.E.R.O. Award.
More About Captain Shashi Prakash, Crew and the RCCNZ
Short List: http://www.imrfawards.org/past-awards/h-e-r-o-awards-2016/lists/short-list(new window)