PROBATIONARY Ensign (P/Ens) Ralph Ofalla Barajan is set to receive the 2020 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
This, after Barajan saved 62 individuals aboard M/V Siargao Princess, including himself, after the vessel capsized off Sibonga town in southern Cebu on November 7, 2019.
The IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea is an annual international recognition for individuals who performed acts of exceptional bravery -- risking their own lives to ensure safety of life at sea, or to prevent or mitigate marine environmental damages.
“P/Ens Barajan’s display of courage, determination, and presence of mind which led to the successful rescue of 62 victims, including himself, is indeed worthy of emulation and respect for him, his family, and for the PCG -- as a perfect demonstration of the Coast Guard service,” Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. said.
Aside from the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, Barajan was also earlier recognized by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Central Visayas, Provincial Government of Bohol, De La Paz Barangay Council, Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Office, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Alpha Phi Omega Internationals Inc., Alpha Phi Omega Philippines Inc., Basic Education Department Holy Name University, and the Holy Name University College of Health Sciences.
On November 7, 2019, 55 passengers, including Barajan who was off-duty at that time, together with crew members were aboard M/V Siargao Princess. The vessel departed from Catagbacan Port in Loon, Bohol, and was bound for Poblacion, Sibonga, Cebu when it capsized around 11 a.m.
It was Barajan who instructed his fellow passengers on when was the right time to jump into the sea.
Barajan will be recognized and commended for his efforts, along with other outstanding Coast Guard personnel, as the PCG celebrates its 119th founding anniversary on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. (RDR)