AFRAS to Present Rescue Awards September 22

(Press Release)
Monday, August 22, 2011

The Association for Rescue at Sea, Inc. (AFRAS) will hold its annual awards ceremony and reception on September 22, 2011.  The event will take place on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. and will be co-hosted by the Honorable Howard Coble, co-chairman, U.S. Congressional Coast Guard Caucus.  AFRAS will award the Gold medal and the Amver (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) plaque for outstanding rescues made in 2010.  The Gold Medal and a cash prize will be presented to Kurt G. Peterson, Chief Aviation Survival Technician, US Coast Guard and the Amver plaque will go to the Captain and crew of M/V ADRIAN.

 AFRAS Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent GOLD MEDAL
(Presented annually to an enlisted member of the United States Coast Guard for an act of extraordinary bravery during a rescue at sea.)
Chief Aviation Survival Technician Kurt G. Peterson of US Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans will receive the prestigious AFRAS Gold Medal for his heroic life-saving actions on the night of 20 April 2010.
At approximately 2220 hours the crew of Coast Guard helicopter 6605 departed the airstation to respond to the report of a rig explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) located approximately 100 nautical miles south of Air Station New Orleans.
A rig failure, 5000 feet below the sea surface caused a huge explosion crippling the structure, immediately killing 11 and forcing workers on board to abandon the rig.  An Offshore Supply Vessel, less than 400 yards from the exploding rig, embarked 115 survivors from the structure and the surrounding waters.
First on scene, Chief Peterson and the crew of CG6605 maneuvered below a 600-foot tower of flames, searching the base of the oil-rig for possible survivors.  After the initial search resulted in no survivors, the crew hoisted Chief Peterson to the Supply Vessel to provide a proper survey of the injured survivors.  While trying to avoid flying debris from secondary explosions, Peterson made his way across the oil-slicked deck and teamed up with two civilian medical technicians already on board to triage the survivors.  He assessed and prepared the most critically injured for helicopter transfer to advanced medical care. As his helicopter prepared to depart the scene due to critically low fuel, Chief Peterson identified one severely burned survivor and quickly carried him back across the oil soaked deck to the awaiting rescue basket.  He then continued to group the 114 remaining patients according to medical priority for evacuation.  Horrific injuries included compound fractures, severe 2nd and 3rd degree burns, and multiple head and neck lacerations.
For four grueling hours, Chief Petty Officer Peterson tirelessly led a team of civilian medical technicians and Rescue Swimmers to prioritize injured victims, render First-Aid, and coordinate transportation for 17 survivors, ultimately saving their lives. Chief Peterson’s professionalism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.
          
AFRAS AMVER AWARD
(Recognizes an extraordinary contribution of seamen in ships at sea to the safety of their fellow mariners.)
AFRAS will present its Amver plaque to the captain and crew of M/V ADRIAN, a Liberian flagged container ship managed by Komrowski Befrachtungskontor of Germany for the rescue of seven Dominican Republic crewmembers on 22 September, 2010.
Having received a Mayday distress call from M/V OCEAN BLUE, the master of the 600-foot M/V ADRIAN altered course and proceeded to the vessel in distress, rescuing seven Dominican Republic crew members from their life rafts.  With the crew members safely on board, and pursuant to instructions from the US Coast Guard, M/V ADRIAN proceeded to a designated meeting point to disembark the crew of the Ocean Blue onto a Dominican Republic naval rescue boat.
Due to technical difficulties, however, the naval boat was unable to complete the rescue operation after taking on board three of the crew members, and the remaining four stayed on board the Adrian which proceeded towards San Domingo, 51 nautical miles away.  Once there, they were safely transferred to a pilot boat in the port’s outer anchorage.  The professional actions of the master and crew of M/V ADRIAN reflect great credit upon themselves and were instrumental in saving seven lives on 22 September 2010.
The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (Amver), sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.

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