www.republika-online.com

Loading...

PCG officer cited for saving 62 lives

Republika

Last year, a Filipino received the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s highest honor: the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officer Ensign Ralph O. Barajan was lauded for his determination, leadership and bravery to save 62 lives while the M/V Siargao was sinking.


The accident happened in Sibunga, Cebu during late 2019. Barajan was able to formally accept the award during a virtual ceremony streamed on the IMO’s YouTube channel. The IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, also commended two Brazilian pilots that helped prevent a major maritime oil spill.


Barajan and his fellow awardees were chosen amidst many nominees from countries such as the Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, France, Bulgaria, Mexico, Pakistan and Russia. Nominations were done by their respective countries. Despite the awarding happening two years down the line, Barajan-who as a Seaman First Class (SN1) at the time-remembered everything like it had been yesterday.


He had gotten on the first trip out from Bohol when he was called urgently to report for work. The vessel started taking in water not long after the trip had started; he called the coast guard stations and substations nearby to alert them of the ship’s state.


Barajan essentially took charge, especially when he found the crew emotional and fumbling. Eventually, he urged the captain to issue an order to “abandon ship”; while he disagreed at first, Barajan got the captain to realize it would take awhile for rescue to arrive.


Since he was trained for water search and rescue operations, Barajan explained the situation to passengers and tol them not to panic. Also a registered nurse, Barajan saw many passengers were elderly and some were young children.


Eventually, he managed to convince people to make the jump. The life rafts had been released, so Barajan told the crew to take charge to ensure they stayed afloat. He then tied the life rafts together so passengers could stay together. While waiting for rescue, he paid particular attention to the sick elderly and to the kids. Everything took about three hours.


Thanks to Barajan’s determination and bravery, there were no deaths despite the voracity of the incident.

Photo: RachFeed


Same Category

News

Palace says pandemic may end this year

Republika
News

Metro, 38 other areas under Alert Level 1

Republika
News

Robredo endorsed by over 500 nuns and priests

Republika
News

Russia invades Ukraine

Republika