A Chinese chief officer has been honoured by the International Maritime Organization for a harrowing rescue of two sailors stuck on a sinking lifeboat.
Bo Xu was given the agency’s Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea after he leapt from the 4,930-dwt product tanker Jian Qiao 502 (built 2013) after spotting a life raft with two survivors of a sunken cargo ship too weak to tie themselves to a life rope.
The IMO said Xu had been searching for the sinking ship for 90 minutes roughly 56 km northeast of Zhifu Bay in the Yellow Sea after a distress call.
“Mr Xu jumped into the freezing waters without hesitating and swam relentlessly towards the raft, battling high waves and strong currents,” the IMO said.
“After several attempts, he reached and pulled himself to the life raft and tied the ropes to the survivors, who were successfully transferred to the deck with the help of other crew members.”
Once on board, Xu performed emergency resuscitation on both of the sailors.
One survived, the other died due to hypothermia.
Xu was one of 41 nominations and was put forth by China. He will receive the award in November during a meeting of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee.
Additionally, five certificates of commendation and six letters of commendation will be presented to crews and individuals involved in maritime rescue operations.
Three merchant vessels involved in the rescue of migrants will be awarded certificates.