Two officers from the 83,155 dwt Bahamas-registered oil/bulk ore carrier
Searose G have been selected to receive the inaugural 2007 IMO Award for
Exceptional Bravery at Sea, in recognition of their part in a dramatic
rescue in severe weather.
The IMO Council, at its 98th session in London, agreed with two Panels of
international assessors and judges that Second Officer Mustafa Topiwala
the Searose G and Captain Zvonimir Ostric
(who was on the vessel as onboard
trainer at the time of the incident) had displayed exceptional bravery in
the rescue of the remaining survivors from the sunken vessel Teklivka, in
the eastern Mediterranean, in March 2006. They were nominated by the Bahamas
and by the International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA).
The Bahamas-registered Searose G was on passage through the Mediterranean,
bound for the Suez Canal, when it responded to a distress call from the
Maltese-flagged Teklivka, which was sinking 50 miles south in gale force
winds. The Teklivka had sunk when the Searose G reached the scene but a
dramatic rescue ensued, with Searose G rescuing nine crew and another vessel
picking up three crew members. Tragically, three crew members of the
The assessment and judging panels considered that Second Officer Topiwala
and Captain Ostric placed their own lives in jeopardy, even though they were
not trained professional rescuers, by undertaking acts that went well beyond
the scope of their normal duties. They left the comparative safety of their
ship, descending to a liferaft filled with oil and water. Second Officer
Topiwala then entered the sea, in extremely hazardous weather conditions,
during the rescue.
Topiwala and Captain Ostric will be invited to receive the award at a
special ceremony to be held during the IMO Assembly, to be held from 19 to
November 30, 2007 in London. They will each receive a medal and a
certificate citing the act of exceptional bravery performed.