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British maritime charity awards American master for saving sailor

1 October 2021

A master from the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P), a Nautilus Federation affiliate union, is to be recognized for saving a British sailor in the Atlantic.

Captain Richard Hoey

Captain Richard Hoey will receive The Lady Swaythling Trophy from British charity The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society for his part in helping save a yachtsman who was forced to abandon his vessel on the night of 20 September 2019.

The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society will officially present the award at a ceremony in London on 5 October 2021.

The rescue took place in the Eastern Atlantic about 200 miles southwest of Cork, Ireland, when Capt Hoey was master of the Maersk Montana.

Maersk Montana received the initial distress call as it was sailing en route to Antwerp. It diverted from its course to close on the distressed vessel, eventually making voice contact with the lone sailor, Mihail 'Miki' Chumachenkov, who said his sailboat, La Belle Vie, was taking on water.

'Our awards judging panel were extremely impressed by the actions of your whole crew, but particularly by the way that you led the rescue, which demonstrated professionalism, skill and outstanding seamanship,' wrote Justin Osmond, chief executive of the charity, in a letter informing Capt Hoey of the award.

The Society has been making awards for outstanding acts of skill and gallantry at sea since 1851.

Capt Hoey would normally have been presented with the award in 2020 but the charity’s awards schedule was postponed due to the pandemic.

Commenting at the time of the rescue, MM&P president Don Marcus commended Captain Hoey, who agreed to be the on-scene commander for the rescue, as well as chief mate Samuel 'Forrest' Halley, second mate William B. Coulter, and third mate Stephen J Miller, and the rest of the crew of Maersk Montana. 'Congratulations on a job well done in your expert rescue work,' he said. 'This is an achievement you will always be able to look back on with great pride and satisfaction.'


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