There has been a heart-warming sequel to a daring sea rescue carried out by the ocean liner Sea Princess and witnessed by hundreds of Australian guests during last year’s world cruise from Sydney.
The ship’s third officer, Max Bingle, was recently recognised with one of the world’s most prestigious maritime awards for the courageous rescue of three men in the Caribbean.
Bingle, who comes from Devon in England and is aged just 24, became the youngest ever recipient of the UK’s Merchant Navy Medal. He commanded a fast rescue boat in heavy seas with two colleagues from the ship to save three men from drowning in a display of seamanship described as ‘incredible bravery’.
Highest levels of maritime tradition
Stuart Allison, the Australian-based Senior Vice President Asia Pacific for Princess Cruises, said Bingle’s performance and that of his colleagues adhered to the highest level of maritime tradition by going to the rescue of fellow seafarers in peril.
“There were around 2,000 Australian guests on board Sea Princess when this dramatic incident took place,” he said. “They would have been aware of the rescue at the time and will be pleased to know that Third Officer Bingle has been honoured in this way.”
Bingle was modest in responding to the presentation of the Merchant Navy Medal, saying that he had simply done what he was trained to do.
‘I am grateful for this recognition’
“Everybody on board acted in the highest maritime tradition by going to the aid of fellow sailors in peril on the sea,” he said. “Saving lives is what we are trained to do as seafarers, and I’m grateful for this recognition.”
The three men, relieved to be plucked from their sinking vessel, were taken aboard the fast rescue boat and delivered to cruise liner, where they received medical care.
Britain’s Maritime minister, Robert Courts, said it was a special honour to award the medal to Bingle its youngest ever recipient.
“He showed incredible bravery in saving three fellow sailors from drowning in rough seas, and this award is a recognition of his incredible selflessness that night,” he stated.