A Sri Lankan Master Mariner, Captain Vimar Vidanagamage, has been awarded the prestigious ‘Assisted Rescue at Sea Award’ in the annual Lloyd’s List Global Awards in London.
The award recognises the role of the vessel MV Kwangtung as On-Scene Command Ship in the search and rescue operation following the sinking of the inter-island ferry MV Rabaul Queen, which capsized in heavy weather off Papua New Guinea in February this year.
According to Lloyd’s List, a highly respected international maritime industry publication, the officers and crew of MV Kwangtung, led by Captain Vidanagamage, demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism, and “esprit de corps” during the two-day search and rescue operation which saved the lives of 246 of the 407 people on board the ferry.
Captain Vidanagamage is a Master Mariner working for a British shipping line, The China Navigation Company which was established in 1872 and is the wholly owned deep-sea shipping arm of the multinational Swire Group. Swire is perhaps better known in Sri Lanka for being the parent company of Finlays Colombo PLC, as well as being the parent of Cathay Pacific Airways of Hong Kong.
In an interview with Captain Vidanagamage he said “I believe our actions reflect the company’s core values of teamwork, humility, endeavour, integrity, continuity and excellence, so the award also recognises the values we uphold. Those values have driven the company for 140 years and they should be instilled in all our cadets. I have worked for many other shipping companies and can say that they don’t have the same values as China Navigation so I am really proud to be a part of the Swire family.”
In addition to dry bulk and bulk logistics activities, China Navigation’s managed liner services, Swire Shipping, operate a fleet of approximately 35 multipurpose vessels which cover around 100 ports worldwide. China Navigation has invested in developing a modern fleet and has a large new building programme with 12 multipurpose and handysize vessels due for delivery in 2013-2014.
The company is committed to operational excellence and has a long history of recruiting, training and developing cadets, ratings and officers for successful and rewarding careers at sea. With the upcoming fleet expansion, CNCo is seeking to recruit a large number of officers and crew over the next few years and Sri Lanka, with its professional maritime training institutions, presents an excellent opportunity for recruiting future talent.