Captain Radhika Menon, Master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya, is to receive the 2016 International Maritime Organization Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for her role in the dramatic rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous seas in the Bay of Bengal in June last year. The International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
- Captain Menon was nominated by the Government of India, for the rescue of all seven fishermen from the fishing boat Durgamma, which was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather.
- Food and water had been washed away and they were surviving on ice from the cold storage.
- The IMO Council, meeting for its 116th session in London, endorsed the decision of a Panel of Judges that Captain Menon displayed great determination and courage in leading the difficult rescue operation in the Bay of Bengal in June last year.
- 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, Orissa.
- Captain Menon is the first woman captain in the Indian Merchant Navy and will be the first woman to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.