Now and then, Marvel-ous heroes fly on big screens and they even never stop smashing box office records. I bet you recently fell in love with Wonder Woman? Well, Gal Gadot’s portrayal was truly remarkable. In fact, her ‘wonder’ character had inspired me to write “Ten stunning ‘Wonder Woman’ Seafarers who can teach us how to fight tooth and nail.”
On the other hand, if we speak of male heroes, the names of Superman, Batman, and Iron man, among others, may pop in our minds quickly. Hardly ever can you hear a child says his Pa is his superhero or a father of a father says that his father’s father was a ‘power ranger’, being the family’s ultimate ‘walang magugutom’(no one’s getting hungry) defender!
Sigh. The struggle of knowing real life heroes is real?
Hopefully, through this blog post, we’ll realize that real life heroes are more fantastic than the ones we see on cinemas. Below Master Mariners, being Overseas Filipino Workers, are already modern heroes of the Philippines. But what made them different among others, are their heroic acts you’re about to discover.
1.Captain Autonomo Amano, Sr.
Capt. AMANO has been sailing for the past 31 years, 26 years of which has been with Höegh Fleet Services Phils., Inc. He started with the company as a ship rating in 1980 onboard a HUAL vessel and went to become a Third Officer in 1983, in a short span of time owing to his talent, skills and exemplary work attitude, he then rose from the ranks, occupying different positions of responsibilities until his promotion in 1998 to Master, a position he says took him so long to achieve due to the presence of pioneering foreign officers reigning over the Höegh vessels at that time.
As a Höegh seafarer and officer, he is an exemplary performer, leader, mentor, and friend. He is one of the Company’s outstanding seafarers getting all accolades from all levels during his entire service years with the company. He easily earned the highest respect and admiration when he remained unfazed in the midst of the industry-wide labor shortage and financial crisis which hit the Company starting in 2008.
During his stint with Höegh Fleet, he also had figured in a rescue operation in August 2005 while serving as Master on board Hual Tramper. Together with the crew they were instrumental in saving the life of a Frenchman whose vessel was distressed in the Atlantic Ocean.
2.Capt. Silvestre Notorio, Jr.
On the night of February 27, 2010, Chile experienced a devastating earthquake measuring over 8 on the Richter’s Scale. Alongside in San Antonio was the “STAR JUVENTAS” with CAPT SILVESTRE G. NOTORIO, JR., as Master of the vessel. The vessel had just commenced unloading her cargo of wheat when nature took command of the situation. With CAPT. NOTORIO’s expertise onboard, he managed to keep all officers and crew calm and safe. Furthermore, through his excellent leadership, he kept the crew focused on the tasks that had to be done, at the same time transmitting timely and relevant information to the Contingency Group to update interested parties. He manifested exemplary ability in evaluating the emergency situation, deciding on what to do and carrying it out having in mind the safety of his men and protection for the ship and its cargo. Grieg Shipping AS shall always be grateful for his decisive action in San Antonio and for undertaking continuous efforts during the aftermath of the earthquake to restore the vessel to its seaworthy condition.
3.Capt. Leopoldo Gromio
CAPT. LEOPOLDO MONTE GROMIO, the Master of MV Hanjin Mimitsu, led the successful rescue of nine (9) passengers of a wooden pleasure boat that sank while sailing the rough seas in Paranagua, Brazil on January 18, 2014
The wooden pleasure boat was tossed heavily in the water due to the rough waters and substantial swells of the sea condition, apparently breaking the boat into two. MV Hanjin Mimitsu which at that time was in the proximity sighted passengers of the boat in the water without flotation devices.
As quick response to the situation, CAPT. GROMIO reported the incident to the nearest rescue station and directed his crew to throw the life rings to the passengers and lower the lifeboat at once. He also controlled and maneuvered the lifeboats himself.
4.Capt. Cuadrato Gaspi
Braving the troubled high seas of the Atlantic brought about by a stormy weather, Capt. Gaspi led his crew onboard MV Sandviken, to rescue three Dutch nationals whose sailboat sank off the coast of Portugal in June 2007. Owing to this skipper’s exemplary seamanship, he had braved the perilously rough seas off the coast Portugal to take over the rescue operation where another cargo vessel had given up.
Part of his heroic act is twenty six (26) brave Filipino officers and crew members of MV Sandviken. Once again, Capt. Gaspi’s group has proven that the Filipino seafarers are the best in the world.
5.Capt. Paulino Belen
Captain Belen has been a seafarer for thirty (30) years. His decisiveness and readiness to take action when duty calls has brought him to where he is today.
This was exhibited on the 24th of December 2015 when Captain Belen led a rescue operation of two European crew onboard a race yacht whose lives at that time were threatened by huge waves and rough winds while sailing. His vessel MV Star Isfjor was on its way to The Netherlands from the USA when the call to assist was received. He immediately led his team to battle ten-meter waves and strong winds without any hesitation on the imminent danger that lies ahead. Despite extreme weather conditions and several unsuccessful attempts, Capt. Belen did not waver in his strong determination until he was able to save the precious lives of the two sailors.
This heroic feat and that of his crew was recognized in various media platforms in Europe, once again proving the Filipino Seafarers’ gallantry.
The leadership, excellent seamanship and heroism of Captain Belen make him truly worthy for the Bagong Bayani Outstanding Employee Award.
6.Capt. Jonathan Sison
A native of Cebu, Captain Sison has been a seafarer for more than thirty (30) years having obtained his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation at the Philippine Merchant Maritime School-Manila in the 80’s. The formative years he spent at the University of San Carlos in Cebu has greatly influenced his desire to help the needy early on in his life.
Captain Sison is a Bagong Bayani Outstanding Employee Awardee for saving the lives of nine (9) Algerian refugees who experienced being aimlessly adrift for days in the Mediterranean Sea without food and water.
On the 24th of August 2015, Captain Sison and his crew, while on their way to Spain onboard MV Star Herdia spotted these helpless refugees who have been refused entry by the European countries. He immediately contacted the Algerian authorities to report about the plight of their fellow nationals but was refused help.
While fully aware that he will get the ire of the Spanish authorities, his fortitude to save precious lives prevailed upon him to rescue the beleaguered refugees. With the help of his crew, he provided them with food and temporary shelter. Capt. Sison never regretted his decision and will continue to risk his life and limb to help others in distress.
This makes him truly commendable as a Bagong Bayani Awardee.
Related Reading: How to be a global “Bagong Bayani”
*Photos & text courtesy of Bagong Bayani Awards Foundation, Inc.
What can you say about our Filipino Captains being real life heroes?
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