Individual: For Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation

When dry bulk carrier MS Prima Donna set off for Finland from Germany on the morning of 15 April 2017, it was carrying 2,500 tons of soy flour and had a crew of eight. After some time, and an uneventful voyage, the crew was alerted by the man overboard alarm. The cook had fallen overboard and a lifebuoy with a light was immediately thrown to him.

First mate Tasanen decided to use the vessel itself to rescue the crew member in the water, not the designated freefall rescue boat. He positioned the ship and switched on the vessel’s floodlight, pointing it towards the lifebuoy and its light.

First Mate Tasanen then took charge of the rescue operation on the deck. The motorman, who was the vessel’s rescue swimmer had jumped into the sea wearing a survival suit, when he got to the lifebuoy he found it was empty.

Another crew member spotted the cook in the water and threw the lifebuoy from the bow of the vessel towards him. First time round the cook couldn’t grab the lifebuoy, but a second attempt was successful. However, the cold and effort proved too much and the crew onboard the ship saw the cook lose consciousness, turning to float face down in the water.

First mate Tasanen realised the situation was perilous and told his crew he would jump into the water, using the rope already in the water to wrap around himself and the cook, enabling the crew to use the vessel’s mooring winch to pull them aboard.

He did this, managing to loop the rope around the two of them, holding the unconscious cook tightly he told the crew on the vessel to pull them up.

The winching process worked and they both landed onboard the ship, but Tasanen was badly injured, fracturing seven ribs and breaking two more. He and the still unconscious cook were airlifted by helicopter and transported to hospital.

First Mate Anton Tasanen showed great determination and utter selflessness, putting his own life at risk to save the life of a member of the crew – and he deserves to be recognised for his bravery and courage.

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