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Australian tugboat responders honoured by IMO for bravery

The three crew members of the SL Diamantina, who saved 21 lives and averted an environmental disaster in July 2022, have received an Exceptional Bravery at Sea commendation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Pictured from left, Marius Fenger, Brad Lucas Australian Maritime Safety Authority CEO Mick Kinley, Alex Alsop.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) nominated Mr Brad Lucas (Master), Mr Alex Alsop (Deckhand), and Mr Marius Fenger (Engineer), for their extraordinary efforts in saving the lives of the crew on board the MV Portland Bay and preventing an environmental disaster on the shores of the world’s second oldest national park, the Royal National Park, south of Sydney.

In July 2022, the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier MV Portland Bay lost propulsion during a severe weather event and rapidly drifted towards the coast in gale-force winds and high seas for two days.

The crew of the towage tug SL Diamantina braved the harsh weather conditions to keep the 169m bulk carrier from running aground.

The tug arrived as the MV Portland Bay came dangerously close to the coast and managed to secure a tow line to the vessel in waves as high as 10 metres.

The tow line parted three times over the course of the next two hours, however the crew was able to keep the bulk carrier from running aground until emergency tugs could arrive and tow the ship to Port Botany.

AMSA CEO Mick Kinley extended a heartfelt congratulations to the crew during his meeting with them in London.

“Thanks to the remarkable bravery, stamina and resourcefulness of Master Brad Lucas, Engineer Marius Fenger and Deckhand Alex Alsop, 21 people are safe today,” he said.

And if that weren’t enough, their actions averted an environmental disaster that would have had long lasting ramifications had they not succeeded.”

The award was presented to recipients at an IMO ceremony last night in London, with Mr Lucas, Mr Fenger and Mr Alsop in attendance.

Tugboat Master Brad Lucas praised his crewmates for their outstanding support during the incident.

“I was so grateful to have someone like Alex and Marius with me,” he said.

“This award means a lot to me because I want to stand next to my engineer Marius and my deckhand Alex and remember the day, remember what we did that day.”