Princess Anne presents award to hero fisherman who saved seven people from sinking ship

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Coming back to the UK from her royal trip to France, the Princess Royal headed to the 2021 Skill and Gallantry Awards ceremony organised by Shipwrecked Mariners. The monarch is a patron of the charity which provides financial aid and support to retired seafarers, fishermen and their families in need.

During the ceremony, Anne presented several people with different awards including an “individual commendation for his high-quality seamanship” to Kinlochbervie-based fisherman Peter Paterson.

Mr Paterson was invited to the ceremony as a hero who saved seven lives in August 2020.

Back then, he was alerted by a local fisherman that his father’s boat had sent mayday calls and had started sinking.

Unfortunately, the seven-people crew on board were unable to inflate the life raft before the vessel sunk.

As the boat was sinking rapidly, they all ended up in the freezing seawater, with many of them unable to swim.

Others were forced to cling onto their lifejackets to remain afloat as they had not had the time to put them on correctly.

Peter Paterson reacted very quickly by rushing to his own boat with a friend.

The pair managed to rescue two 70-year-olds who were suffering from the effects of cold-water immersion.

They picked up the 5 others and brought all of them back to Kinlochbervie Harbour where medics were ready to intervene.

Chief executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners Society, Captain Justin Osmond RN, said: “The Society’s Skill and Gallantry Awards provide us with an opportunity to honour acts of skill and professionalism displayed by those at sea, by giving remarkable individuals the special recognition they deserve.

“Peter Paterson’s swift and selfless actions led to a textbook recovery of seven personnel, and given the conditions, without his skill and quick thinking, the situation may well have had a much starker conclusion.

“As such, he is fully deserving of an individual commendation for this time-critical rescue.”

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Other heroes were awarded prizes during the 170th ceremony such as Captain Richard Hoey who received The Lady Swaythling Trophy for the safe recovery of the crew of a sinking sailing vessel in the North Atlantic in September 2019.

The Emile Robin Award, for an “outstanding rescue”, was presented to Lewis Mulhearn, who managed to save his crew after an underwater explosion raised the vessel Galwad Y Mor up from the sea surface in December 2020.

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