During the first part of the European Regional Meeting 2022, held online on 19 October 2022, the IMRF announced the winners of this year’s IMRF Awards, recognising all those involved in maritime search and rescue (SAR) from around the world

The IMRF Awards acknowledge those that have shown excellence in their field, developed innovative technology and equipment, or acted as a role model to inspire others.

The awards also shine a light on those colleagues who offer the tireless support, training, and planning that enables SAR crews to do what they do, safe in the knowledge that they are all part of the same team.

The Winners of this Year’s IMRF Awards Were ...

Rosie Musters from Coastguard New Zealand won Outstanding Individual Contribution to Maritime SAR Operations. A longstanding volunteer at Coastguard New Zealand, both locally and nationally, Rosie was an inspirational member of her unit, coordinating with other SAR agencies and emergency services during a full-scale SAR operation of a distressed vessel in March 2020 that saved the lives the entire crew.

SAR Team R/V Ocean Viking from SOS Mediterraneé won Outstanding Team Contribution to Maritime SAR Operations. SOS Mediterraneé is a European humanitarian SAR organisation operating in the Central Mediterranean to help saves lives of those fleeing Libya in overcrowded rubber boats. To date, SOS Mediterraneé has saved more than 35,000 lives, including women and children, during its seven-year operation.

NSRI’s Survival Swimming Centre won the award for Innovation & Technology in Maritime SAR, sponsored by Pole Star. South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has developed a unique swimming facility within a 12 m shipping container that enables children to be taught, for free, how to swim in a safe and practical environment, thus reducing the risk of a child drowning in the region.

Andrew Tate from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) won the #WomenInSAR Award, sponsored by HamiltonJet. Since 2014 Andrew has been a vocal supporter of women in engineering at the RNLI by leading the service’s Women In Engineering events. To date, more than 400 women have taken part in his events, inspiring more women and the next generation of engineers and life savers to join our industry.

Hendrik Spanjer from Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz and KNRM in the Netherlands won the Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in Maritime SAR Award, sponsored by Inmarsat. Hendrik has been involved in maritime SAR since 1993, training countless of maritime students to prepare them for a life at sea. He also addressed the European Parliament as part of his role as Chairman of the International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IASST) and continues to be committed to ensure future seafarers have all the knowledge and experience they need to be able to operate safely at sea.

Runners up of the 2022 awards included Captain Isa Noah Amwe from Nigeria; Sarah Lundin from the Canadian Coastguard; Chrissy Heu and Michael Cockburn from Jurien Bay Marine Rescue, Australia; John Millman from the Canadian Coastguard; and Lifboat from Sweden.

IMRF CEO Theresa Crossley said, “I want to send out my wholehearted congratulations to all the winners of this year’s IMRF Awards. People remain the most vital part of the maritime SAR community and their dedication, professionalism and expertise to all aspects of maritime SAR, from those on the frontlines to those working behind the scenes, is what makes our industry so unique."

Over the past 12 months maritime SAR continues to work in difficult circumstances amid the challenges posed by a global pandemic. I am proud that the IMRF continues to acknowledge and celebrate the work being done by SAR organisations around the world as part of its annual awards ceremony,” she added.

We read some incredibly heartwarming stories of SAR endeavors, in circumstances none of us could imagine, during our judging process. The winners of this year’s awards are a testament to their dedication to maritime SAR and we thank each and every one of them, along with all the other nominees, for their tireless and incredible efforts,” said Michael Vlasto, former IMRF Chair and Head of the Awards Judging Panel.

Click here to learn more about the IMRF Awards.