Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:25 UK

Royal recognition for brave cox

Coastguards with Prince Charles
The coastguards were honoured for their work dealing with the MSC Napoli

A lifeboat coxswain from Devon has been recognised for his "outstanding seamanship" during a rescue off the coast of Devon in January.

Mark Criddle, cox of the Torbay Lifeboat, received a gallantry medal in London for the rescue of eight crew from the stricken Ice Prince.

Two coastguards also received awards for their work after the MSC Napoli was grounded in January 2007.

The awards were presented by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Containers scavenged

Coastguards Mark Rodaway, based at Portland, and Peter Pritchard, based at Lyme Bay, received awards for their work after the MSC Napoli was grounded in Lyme Bay and for their "untiring efforts" in the weeks that followed.

The Napoli was damaged by storms in January 2007 off the coast of Cornwall en-route to South Africa.

The drifting vessel was being towed to Portland Harbour in Dorset for a salvage operation, but fears of severe structural damage prompted the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to deliberately ground it in Lyme Bay.

In the ensuing 50m salvage operation, nearly 4,000 tonnes of oil was pumped off the ship and more than 2,300 containers removed.

Thousands of people descended on Branscombe beach to scavenge the contents of 50 containers which washed ashore.

Almost one year after the Napoli disaster, the Greek-registered Ice Prince with 20 crew on board, was hit by severe gale force winds south east of Berry Head in Devon.

MSC Napoli (l) and Ice Prince
The Ice Prince (r) was stricken almost exactly a year after the Napoli

The gales shifted the ship's timber cargo, causing her to list 45 degrees.

After losing all power, the Coastguard helicopter attempted to rescue the crew of 20, but weather conditions meant it was only able to winch 12 to safety.

The remaining eight were forced to jump to safety off the badly-rolling cargo ship and on to the rescue boat.

The rescue took nearly two hours and because of the difficulties of manoeuvring close to the rolling, powerless cargo ship in atrocious conditions, the Torbay lifeboat had to make more than 50 approaches.

The Ice Prince sank the following day off Portland Bill in Dorset, shedding its 2,000 tonnes of sawn timber.

Mr Criddle was given his gallantry medal in recognition of his leadership and outstanding seamanship.

The other crew members will also be recognised for their bravery.

Heroic lifeboat crew is honoured
29 Feb 08 |  Cornwall

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