Captain Radhika Menon dramatically rescued seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous seas and is to receive the 2016 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for this act. Government of India nominated Captain Menon for her brave act. Boat carrying all seven fishermen was adrift following engine failure. They also lost the anchor in severe weather. They were surviving on ice when captain menon rescued them because food and water had also been washed away. She utilised the pilot ladder and life jackets on stand by.
In their statement about the incident, The Shipping ministry said, "Radhika Menon was at the helm of the oil tanker Sampurna Swarajya and spotted the vessel 2.5 km away. “Through wave heights of more than 25 feet, winds of more than 60 knots and heavy rain, on 22 June, the second officer on the Sampurna Swarajya spotted the boat 2.5 kilometres away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Odisha. Captain Menon immediately ordered a rescue operation, utilising the pilot ladder and with life jackets on standby”.
She told the Times of India, “It is a maritime obligation to save souls in distress at sea and, as a seafarer and master in command of my ship, I just did my duty”
The voice of a woman issuing the orders is a novelty. It's a novelty for officers and crew of MT Suvarna Swarajya as well as for the Indian merchant navy. MC Radhika Menon is the first woman captain to command a merchant ship. Menon, now seven months into her first command, said "Being a woman in command of a ship is just like being a woman heading any other organisation.
If you have proved your capability and know your job, I don't think the gender quite matters" She joined the Shipping Corporation of India as a trainee radio officer after her Class XII exams in 1991. Her job was to look after the ship's communication systems. She also handles the menu and provisions, since most radio officers also tended to double as pursers.
She says "Even back then, I was the first woman radio officer in the country," She gradually cleared the exams for the posts of second mate and chief mate and climbed up the hierarchy. She, in 2010, cleared the exam for the master's certificate after spending the required time in sea. She took charge of MT Suvarna Swarajya last year, on which she had sailed twice earlier.
This annual Award, established by IMO, was an attempt to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery, displaying outstanding courage in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment.