On 21 November, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London recognised the crew of the Charlotte Maersk for their exceptional bravery at sea.
They have been given a certificate of commendation by the IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Motropoulos. The award lauded their bravery whilst fighting a fire onboard the Charlotte Maersk.
Charlotte Maersk had left Port Klang in Malaysia and was on its way to Salalah, Oman, but on the evening of 7 July 2010, the fire alarm sounded.
Containers on the foredeck had caught fire, 45 nautical miles off the Malaysian coast, and the crew of Charlotte Maersk had to step into action to contain the flames until assistance could reach the vessel.
The 21-strong crew fought flames up to 12 metres high, with 150 burning containers and temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees Celsius. They faced an incredible physical and mental challenge as it took eleven days in all, to get the fire under control.
Using all 63 fire hoses on board the vessel and with the help of three tugs and a fire fighting aircraft, the crew worked relentlessly day and night. Amazingly none of them were injured in the operation and the vessel subsequently berthed at Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia, where the containers were unloaded. After a month of repairs, Charlotte Maersk returned to service.
Captain Dick Simon Danielsen, Master of the Charlotte Mærsk accepted the award on behalf of the crew. He was accompanied by Anne Hedensted Steffensen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Denmark to the United Kingdom and Søren Andersen, Maersk Line's Vice President of Vessel Management.
Describing the occasion as “a great moment,” Captain Dick Danielsen is “very proud to represent the excellent crew of the Charlotte Mærsk.”
“This once in a lifetime experience will forever be treasured in my memories,” he says.
“(During the fire) everybody on board and ashore worked together as one unit. Even when the explosion took place, nobody left their post; the battle against the fire continued for 48 hours without hesitation. Gentlemen, that is why we received that award and I salute and deeply respect the crew’s effort.”
Captain Danielsen will be taking the certificate of commendation back to the Charlotte Maersk, where it will be hung on the wall outside the captain’s office.
Søren Andersen, Head of Vessel Management at Maersk Line, also commends the crew of Charlotte Maersk:
"You displayed tremendous bravery and adaptability in a very difficult situation. Maersk Line prides itself on the high quality of the people it recruits, and your actions more than reflect that. You truly deserve this award and the recognition that comes with it."
Captain Danielsen accepts an award for bravery on behalf of his crew