Youngest ever officer rewarded for heroism at sea
Third Officer Max Bingle, who at 24 years old stands as the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious Merchant Navy Medal, has been recognised for saving people’s lives in dire straits at sea.
Bingle, from Devon, is joined by 19 other mariners awarded for outstanding service and contribution to the sector, including services for fishing safety and training throughout their careers.
While at sea, Bingle responded to a distress call in pitch black, rough waters to save three men on a sinking boat. Despite his own boat becoming endangered during the rescue mission, he drove forward and, with the help of two others, saved the lives of his fellow mariners.
Another recipient is Fazilette Khan who has received the accolade for her services to the marine environment. Khan began her career as a Radio Officer in 1984, and set up the marine environmental charity Green Seas Trust in memory of her mother Haida Khan as she saw an increase of litter around the coast. The charity has overseen the successful BinForGreenSeas campaign, which has seen nautically themed recycling bins placed in many coastal towns because of her actions.
“I am delighted to announce the recipients of this year’s Merchant Navy Medal. They have all gone beyond the call of duty to provide an invaluable service to our sector and our country,” says Robert Courts, maritime minister.
“It’s a special honour to award the medal to Max, 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.”
The Merchant Navy awards celebrate the vital role of Merchant Navy seafarers and the contribution they continue to make to our country, as well as their well-known service during wartime.
Other recipients include Guy Platten, who received the medal for his services to the maritime sector, stretching from outstanding services for lifesaving projects and most recently, his extraordinary efforts in supporting the government to resolve the crew change crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.