The A.J. (Jimmy) Mooney Marine Gallantry Medal Award was established in 2003 by a gift of endowment made by Clayton LOVE Jnr., a Past President of the ISA and Past Deputy Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Jimmy MOONEY was a highly respected Dublin Bay sailor who died at a relatively young age and the award made in his name commemorates his life and his efforts on behalf of Irish sailing.
The 2004 recipient of the award, Rory CASEY was on board the yacht Northabout, and the following (amended) extract from the ISA Website, details the incident for which he was nominated:
'Northabout is a 15m long aluminium boat designed by Caroff Duflos Naval Architects (Paris) and built in 15 months by skipper Jarlath CUNNANE and the project team in 2000. Designed specifically for polar expeditions and Arctic passages, she has a crew of eight people. A Bermudan cutter rig with roller furling on two headsails, when sail power gives way to motor, Northabout is driven by a 90hp Perkins diesel engine. With a fuel capacity of 1800 litres, (in five tanks) she has a range of 2,000 miles. A lifting centerboard allows the draft to be reduced from 3 to 1.4m, ideal for the shallower Arctic conditions that can be encountered. On 23 June 2001, Northabout left her homeport of Westport, Ireland to sail the North West passage and subsequently Alaska and Canada's inside passage. In July 2004, she set out to attempt a transit of the North East passage and on 5 September 2004, during the course of their attempt, the crew received a call from another larger vessel, the Campania (17 metres). She too was attempting the passage and the call to Northabout informed them that their rudders were irreparably damaged by ice and they were awaiting a sea lift on a Russian freighter. In order for the lift to take place Campania required a tow to deeper water which, with the formation of ice, meant a tow of nearly 30 miles. Northabout, crewed by Jarlath CUNNANE, skipper, Michael BROGAN, Kevin CRONIN, Colm BROGAN, Gary FINNEGAN, Paddy BARRY, Rory CASEY and Vladislav SAMOILOVICH, a Russian, went to their assistance. The conditions in the area at the time of the incident were -7°C with sea ice forming. At one stage under full revs Northabout was only able to make one knot.
On reaching their rendezvous they moored both boats to a grounded iceberg to await the arrival of the Russian freighter. On the arrival of the tow, in force five winds, with many floes drifting by knocking off the iceberg to which they were moored they had to retrieve the lines and grapnels of both boats from the floe in darkness, high wind, breaking seas and temperatures of -7°C in order to make the final tow successfully to the freighter. All the crew of Northabout deserve recognition for their endeavours. However, Rory CASEY's actions in particular, in going onto the slippery ice floe in breaking seas, darkness and heavy weather at considerable personal risk merit him the ISA Jimmy Mooney Award.'
In creating this Award, the ISA set out to recognize significant accomplishments in seamanship and to collect case studies of rescue for analysis by the ISA's Safety Advisory Group for future use in the Association's educational and training programmes. #
The eligibility criteria dictate that the Award shall be restricted to members of affiliated ISA Clubs and Organisations. However, professional rescue personnel may be eligible if they participated in a rescue while in an off-duty capacity or if their rescue effort went above and beyond their normal call of duty. The rescue or attempted rescue should have taken place in Irish waters or may have been part of a race or voyage that originated or stopped in an Irish port. At least one of those involved must fulfill ISA membership criteria.
Critical factors in the consideration of the award include, among others; prevailing weather, sea conditions, vessels involved, proximity to land, shipping or other hazards, number, experience and qualifications of the casualties, the rescue process, and the rescuer's courage and skill. Nominations for this annual award may be made by individuals or organizations.
More information on the award and previous recipients can be found on the ISA Website.