A Chinese diver who made a series of underwater dives to rescue three people from a sunken cargo ship will be the recipient in December of the 2018 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery At Sea, the highest award.
Following a collision with another ship in Guangzhou Port, China early on November 27th 2017, bulk carrier Jin Ze Lun sank. Of the 14 crew on board, two were immediately rescued by local maritime authorities, but 12 remained missing. The bulk carrier was lying on the seabed, in the main channel into the port, subject to strong currents.
Zhong Haifeng, senior diver and deputy of the Engineering Team of Guangzhou Salvage was put in charge of the search for survivors. After 36 hours of repeated dives, six survivors were located – trapped in the cargo hold. Zhong instructed his team to replenish oxygen to the cabin and talk to the trapped survivors, to calm them.
Zhong then dived down himself to the cargo hold alongside a teammate, bringing scuba diving equipment for those trapped underneath. In the afternoon of November 28th Mr Zhong dived down six times. He taught survivors how to put on and use scuba diving equipment and personally rescued three of them in the space of one hour, despite exhaustion.
The Panel of Judges agreed that by personally exerting tireless efforts under highly dangerous circumstances, Mr Zhong demonstrated truly exceptional bravery and human spirit. Mr Zhong had been nominated for the award by China.
The 2018 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea will be presented during an IMO Awards ceremony to be held on December 6th 2018 at IMO Headquarters in London.
A further three nominees will receive Certificates of Commendation and eight more will receive Letters of Commendation.