On November 21st, at IMO Headquarters in London, Captain Seog Hae-gyun was awarded the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea for 2011 “for his decisive, brave and courageous actions to protect his ship and crew during a vicious pirate attack in the Indian Ocean, which left him with serious and long-lasting injuries.”
On January 15, 2011, the chemical tanker Samho Jewelry was hijacked by Somali pirates. The 21 officers and crew here taken hostage. Captain Seog Hae-gyun showed remarkable courage, ingenuity and persistence in resisting the pirates until finally, on January 21, the ship was stormed by Korean commandos from the destroyer ROKS Choi Young, who killed or captured the pirates and freed the crew.
During the six day hijacking, Captain Seog steered the ship in a zig-zagged fashion to stay in international waters as long as possible. He contaminated the ship’s fuel to slow the engines, and secretly maintained communications with the outside world and the Korean Navy, providing invaluable information on the location and organization of the pirates. He carried on despite being beaten by the pirates, suffering serious fractures to his legs and shoulders. When the ship was stormed the pirates shot Captain Seog four times, in revenge. A helicopter from the destroyer USS Shoup evacuated the wounded captain to the Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Oman after the fire fight. On being transferred to a hospital in Korea, Captain Seog survived major surgery and did not return to full consciousness for almost a month..
Our heartfelt congratulations to Captain Seog. Thanks also to Miroslav at Antic.org for passing the article along.