Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) alumna, Sandra Bendixen (MMA, ’05) of Linwood, Wash., was the honored guest at the regular morning formation of the college’s Regiment of Midshipmen on Weds., Dec. 13, 2006. Bendixen received a surprise commendation and plaque from her employer, Interocean American Shipping (IAS),Voorhees, N.J., for her outstanding efforts to render medical assistance to two critically injured longshoremen. Bendixen was cited for her immediate action, skill, and calm and assured manner during the recent shipboard crisis. Mitchell Walker, MMA Class of 1971, vice president and general manager of IAS, traveled to Castine to make the special presentation in the presence of Maine Maritime Academy students. He used the recognition event as an opportunity to cite the college’s staff and faculty for their contributions to the development of highly professional merchant seafarers.
According to IAS accounts, Bendixen, a certified Emergency Medical Technician, was serving as a licensed third mate aboard the M/V Independence when the accident took place in the port of Shuaybah, Kuwait. A forklift being used by longshoremen was left unattended and fell into and elevator opening, falling approximately 10 meters and striking and seriously injuring two longshoremen. Bendixen responded immediately to the scene, crawled underneath the vehicle, and provided medical care to stabilize one injured longshoreman until the machine could be removed. She then directed others on how to continue care and began treating the second injured longshoreman who had suffered multiple injuries, leg trauma, and significant blood loss. She oversaw the treatment of both people until shoreside U.S. Army emergency medical personnel arrived and relieved her. In his remarks, Walker said, “Ms. Bendixen’s professionalism and outstanding performance in an emergency situation are a tribute to herself and the U.S. Merchant Marine.”