They were the crew held hostage for almost a year after Somali pirates hijacked their vessel. But following their release from the MV Savina Caylyn, the seafarers on board have been honoured at a special event.
On the 49th National Maritime Day in India, all members of the crew were recognised for the team spirit shown during the 11-month ordeal, following the hijacking on 8th February last year, 500 miles west of India.
During the ceremony in Mumbai on 5th April Second Engineer Rahul Puranik - the most senior Indian officer - was delighted to receive the Gallantry at Sea Award after being singled out for the exceptional leadership skills he displayed.
Deepak Verma, the Government of India’s Deputy Director General of Shipping, while introducing the award, said: “The vessel’s crew had to endure 11-months in captivity with several instances of torture and harassment including segregation on board and ashore.
“During this time, the ship’s company stood by each other and worked as a cohesive unit in the true spirit of teamwork and excellent camaraderie. But the leadership displayed by Rahul Puranik is noteworthy and of special mention.
“He provided the courage and strength of character, far beyond the call of his duty and far exceeding the scope of his merchant navy training and experience, to keep the crew together, eventually ensuring the safety of them all.”
Also on hand to congratulate Rahul and the rest of the crew was the Guest of Honour at the event, Andrea Chrysostomou, Chairman of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee.
Congratulations to Rahul and the team!
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E-mail: Graeme Cook