A 2009 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea have been presented to two US amateur sailors Maurice and Sophie Conti who in their Catana 471 cruising catamaran Ocealys rescued three people from the sunken yacht Timella in very heavy weather off a remote South Pacific coral reef.
Maurice and Sophie Conti were sailing their yacht Ocealys in the South Pacific with their young family when they heard a late night distress call from the yacht Timella, which had struck a reef, two and a half hours sailing time away. The Contis made contact with authorities in New Zealand and Fiji but, in the absence of marine or aviation rescue assets being immediately available, they planned and executed themselves the rescue of the three Timella crew members, in the early morning of 13 October 2008, exposing themselves to considerable risk. The Contis, United States citizens, were nominated for the Award by New Zealand.
The Award, a silver medal depicting on one side a search and rescue operation with a sinking ship in the background and a helicopter rescuing survivors from the sea in the foreground, and with the IMO logo on the reverse side, was presented to the winners by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, at a special ceremony at IMO Headquarters on 23 November 2009, during the 26th session of the Organization's Assembly.