By: Jaime Laude
Philippine star, Sunday, November 28, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – The heroism of the two Philippine Navy sea marshals that led to the saving of 926 lives during the sinking of Super Ferry 9 off the coast of Zamboanga del Norte last year has earned them international recognition.
Gunnersmate Third Class Anifer Bucao and Fireman First Class Aviation Mechanic Oliver Cogo received an award on Thursday at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.
Navy spokesman Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the two, members of a four-man Task Force Sea Marshal, considered their actions at the height of Sept. 6 Super Ferry disaster as part of their job.
Both recipients of the Navy’s Distinguished Cross last September, the two were informed only recently that their heroism has earned them a nomination to an IMO award, which the international seafarers body approved following deliberations during its council meeting last June.
Bucao and Cogo shared the IMO award, handed out by IMO’s Secretary General Eftimios Metropoulos during the body’s 88th Session on the Maritime Safety Commission Meeting last Thursday in London, with two PCG personnel, one of them Petty Officer Second Class Samuel Boniol.
“The four were presented the certificates of commendation in recognition of their actions in assisting in the evacuation and disembarkation of the panicked-stricken passengers of the severely listing ship,” Bacordo said.
When the captain of the ill-fated vessel ordered everybody to abandon ship, the four, whose duty was to protect the vessel and passengers from threats of terror, went out of their way to ensure an orderly and safe evacuation of the passengers.
Had it not for their gallant move, the number of fatalities could have been higher. A total of nine passengers died in that particular sea mishap.