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Merchant Navy Officers, backbone of the economy, honoured for the first time, in a big way; Pride of Seas shows the way

The unsung heroes of the country, merchant navy officers at last had their legitimate recognition when they were conferred the prestigious Pegasus Awards at a glittering function held in the city on October 13. Hundreds of captains of the industry flew into Chennai from the Maritime capital of the country Mumbai to attend the gala function held at Hotel Grand Chola.

Amidst thunderous applause from captains and leaders and representatives of the Maritime industry, Sea farers from every walk of the industry Captains, Chief Engineers, Chief officers  and Second Engineers were given awards by the Captains of the industry. The dignitaries who attended the function include Mr Amitabh Kumar, Additional Director General of Shipping and Cap Anoop Kumar Sharma, Chairman of Shipping Corporation of India.

The Merchant navy officers bring into the country through ships from pin to foodgrains, fertilisers, heavy duty machinery, coal crude to power the economic growth of the country but the civil society and the governments are yet to give them a place in the society.

The Standing Ovation Awards were given to extraordinary contribution the individuals had given to the industry and made the country proud. Seafarers who contributed to social service, writers among them and those who provided counseling to stressed out sailors and their families were not left out. Fire fighters in the industry were also included in the Comprehensive Award list. The award function lasted over four years. Citations were announced individually before the Pegasus trophy was awarded.

The Mega Maritime event first of its kind to be organised in the country was launched by Licorne a subsidiary company of Unicorn, leading steamer agents of southern India, Essentially the project was the brain child of father son duo Mr Arul Anthony Joseph and his son Arul Augustin Joseph both of them hold key positions in the CHENSAA Chennai Ennore Port Steamer Agents Association, father mentor of the Association while the son is in charge of Bulk Carriers traffic in these Ports.

Among those who were conferred the Standing Ovation awards include Mr Amar Singh Thakur of Maritime Union of India, Capt A K Bansal of IWL India Private limted, Cap.Kamada Vivekanand of ADU University USA, Chief Engineer of Visakhapatnam Port K R A Narasiah, Capt Pradeep Kant Gaur, President of Krishnapatnam Port, K P Rajagopal, CEO of IL and FS, Capt Sanjay Prashhar, V R Maritime Services Private Limited, Captain Sanjiv Dhir, Managing director, RawMet resources, Capt.B.V.J.K Sharma, Joint Managing Director JSW Infra, Cap Suresh Bhardwaj who runs the biggest Maritime Educational Institution MASSA and Chief Engineer Varughese Mathew, Ship Repair firm, Choudhry Technical.

The first lady Captain Radhika Menon Chandra of the Shipping Corporation of India was conferred the Pegasus Exemplary Sea Service award for rescuing seven fishermen off the stormy seas of Odisha coast two years ago. She was the captain of the SCI vessel Sampoorna Swaraj when she led the rescue operations in the stormy seas.

Speaking on the occasion, she said the merchant navy officers who contributed to the economic growth of the country deserve much better recognition by the civil society. They remain unsung heroes of the country. She lauded the efforts of the team of officers of her vessel which conducted the Rescue Operations amidst inclement Weather condition.

The Author of the book Mind Over Water, a sea farer himself Captain Shoukat Mukerjee of V Ships India pvt Limited was given the Writers award for depicting conditions in the sea where they toiled all their entire life. The Award for Social Service went to Mr Maneesh Pradhan of AESM (India) Private Limited.

Loud cheers from the crowd was reserved for Mr.Abdul Ghani Serang of the National Union of Sea Farers for pioneering Counseling Service for both Sea farers and their families who had to live separately all their life.

The other award winners in the Captains category include Capt Bimal Singha, CMVPL, Singapore, Capt Devendra Kumar, Shipping Corporation of India, Capt Neeraj Ramaprasad Saxena, CMVPL Singapore,  Cap Perumal Thanigaivel, AESM India Pvt Ltd, Cap. Pitchandi Sivathanu Ramesh, Arch Shipping, Capt Reuben Chauhan, MSC Crewing Services Pvt ltd, Cap. Robert Anil Tellis, Dockendale Ship Management, Capt Sameer Prakash and Capt Sikander Mushtaq Ali both from AESM India Pvt ltd and Cap Suryanarayana Reddy Matli, V Ships India Pvt Ltd

Chief Engineers : Mr R Dhanapal, V Ships India Pvt Ltd, Mr Ganni Viswanadham, Dockendale Ship Management, Satender Kumar, AESM India Pvt ltd, Mr Swathanthiran Saravanan, MSC Crewing Services pvt Ltd, Mr Vikas Yadhav, CMVPL Singapore, Mr Vishnu Prasad Hegde, AESM India pvt ltd.

Chief Officers: Mr Aston Savio Almedia of AESM India pvt ltd, Mr Joel Melvin Tauro, Dockendale ship management, Mr Martin Vaz Antony Vaz, Mr Navin Peter both from AESM India pvt ltd, Mr Sargunasekar Ramkumar, Arch Shipping Services.

Second Engineers: Mr Ajay Ramesh Kulkarni of Dockendale Ship Managment, Mr Deepankar Tanwar,Mr Imran Vora and Mr Srinivas Korayya all from AESM India Pvt ltd.

The standards set by the jury in finalysing the award winners include their exemplary performance in Search and Rescue Operations in high seas, Quick loading and unloading operations from the ship particularly in inclement weather conditions like icy winds, setting right black outs in the ship's Engine rooms. Most important of the condition is that they should be recommended by the employers.

The Standing Ovation awards were given to Officers who did the country proud by their contribution to the maritime industry.

Sponsors of the event ensured that  persons from the Ship Manning Industry were included in the Jury which decided the award winners, to avoid complaints of nepotism.


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