IMRF announces finalists for the 2017 H.E.R.O Awards

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has announced the finalists for the 2017 H.E.R.O. Awards, recognising some of the exceptional individuals and organisations around the world who go above and beyond in maritime search and rescue (SAR).

There are four categories in the IMRF H.E.R.O Awards 2017:

  • The Individual award recognises an outstanding contribution by an individual in a maritime SAR operation and is sponsored by 8 West Consulting/SafeTrx. The finalists are Anton Tasanen for his skilled and brave rescue of a crewmember overboard using the vessels mooring winch in rough seas near Finland, and Ray Burge for his quick thinking lifesaving actions which saved a husband and wife caught in strong currents and heavy seas in New Zealand.
  • The Team award, recognises an outstanding contribution by a team or teams in the maritime SAR ecosystem working together to save lives and is sponsored by Orolia/McMurdo. The finalists are the National Sea Rescue Institute WaterWise Academy in South Africa which teaches disadvantaged children about water safety educating approximately 330,000 children each year and MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) based in Malta. MOAS has been nominated for its tireless work over the Easter weekend when it rescued over 1,800 desperate people from woefully inadequate boats in the Mediterranean.
  • The Innovation and Technology award recognises new products and technologies developed that improve the work and success of SAR organisations, and is sponsored by Pole Star.
  • The RNLI Future Leaders Project Team 2016, is a finalist for this award, nominated for their programme which focuses on new and developing search and rescue organisations around the world, helping to build individual and organisational leadership. The other finalist is the MAR-SimNET Project, an interlinked simulator for maritime disasters which incorporates – for the very first time – the needs of the different stakeholders involved in a complex search and rescue operation. The MAR-SimNET project provides interorganisational training for all the entities involved, from maritime rescue coordination centres to coastal radio stations to SAR vessels on the water and SAR helicopters overhead.
  • The Vladimir Maksimov Lifetime Achievement award recognises outstanding service to SAR by an individual or organisation and is sponsored by Inmarsat.
    The finalists for this award are Branko Rameša from the Croatian Search and Rescue, Croatia, and ADES (the Association of Maritime and River Rescue of Uruguay) with special recognition for the outstanding voluntary work undertaken by Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio to establish and develop this pioneering SAR institution. With almost 40 years of SAR experience, Mr. Branko has demonstrated his bravery time and time again, dedicating his life to saving lives at sea. While Captain Ramón Sagüés and Engineer Otto Vicente Muzzio worked as pioneering volunteers in Uruguay to help build the exemplary search and rescue institution that is ADES today.


Rebecca Nixon - Marketing Manager at Pole Star, is honoured to present the
Innovation and Technology in Maritime Search and Rescue Award at the IMRF
H.E.R.O. Awards dinner held at the RNLI College, Poole, on 2 November 2017.

Members of the public, SAR professionals and anyone from the maritime industry are encouraged to visit the website, to read more about the finalists and to vote for the People’s Choice H.E.R.O. Award – full details of how to vote for the People’s Choice H.E.R.O. Award will be released shortly. There will also be a Local IMRF H.E.R.O. 2017 Award given to local SAR H.E.R.O.s, nominated by the event’s hosts the RNLI.

The Innovation and Technology in Maritime Search and Rescue Award 2017 is sponsored by Pole Star.

Pole Star is a privately owned, London headquartered technology company developing innovative SaaS software solutions and APIs for the maritime, banking & finance and government sectors.

For nearly 20 years they have offered the maritime industry cutting edge vessel tracking, as well as SSAS and LRIT conformance testing solutions: Ship Tracking; SSAS Management; Risk Insight; LRIT Conformance; Counter Piracy and MRV Compliance by Pole Star. Finance Markets & Compliance: they help their clients in the banking, trade & commodity sectors to manage their financial crime risk with advanced sanctions screening and vessel monitoring solutions: PurpleTRAC and Ship Tracking. Government: their government clients benefit from comprehensive end-to-end service and the highest levels of reliability, redundancy and scalability: LRIT ASP & Data Centre; Fisheries VMS and Hali.

The aim of the H.E.R.O. Awards is to recognise and show gratitude for courage and exceptional performance, both by individuals and organisations, as well as raise awareness of innovative SAR products, technologies and processes with the aim of spreading ideas for improvement. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner held at the RNLI, Poole in the UK on 2 November 2017.

Julian Longson, Managing Director, Pole Star says: "At Pole Star we’re passionate about increasing maritime safety and security, and have been demonstrating this for 20 years by working alongside governments, search and rescue operations, naval operations, and shipping companies. That’s why it will come as no surprise that we’re proud to sponsor this year’s Innovation & Technology H.E.R.O. award, honouring those who put their lives at risk every day, to go above and beyond the call of duty in saving lives at sea."

Udo Fox, IMRF Chairman and Trustee and Executive Director, German Maritime Search & Rescue Service says: "We are very grateful to Pole Star for their sponsorship of the H.E.R.O. Awards. Although only in their second year, the H.E.R.O. Awards 2017 have attracted interest and nominations from around the world, and we look forward to announcing the winners at the awards dinner in November."

You can learn more about the IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards at