Branko Rameša - Croatian Search and Rescue - MMPI - Croatia
Lifetime Achievement: The Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Maritime SAR Sector
Since joining the harbourmaster’s branch office in the town of Tisno, Croatia in 1980, Branko Rameša has been heavily involved in search and rescue.
From grounding to sinking; collision to distress – he has been involved in more than 200 SAR (search and rescue) actions and the total number of lives he has helped to save is difficult to count.
His first SAR action was in the summer of 1980. Using the official wooden boat, six meters long with a 4,4-kW motor, he took part in the search and rescue of a missing diver.
His involvement in SAR actions increased with the launch of SAR boat "LAVSE" in 1989. At that time, "LAVSA" was the only vessel in the area, and it was normal for it to assist with about 10 SAR actions every day.
One notable rescue operation took place in 1992 close to the island of Cres, during an extremely strong Bora wind.
The Elan 43 sailboat, which had begun to take on water, was rescued with six crewmembers by "LAVSA". Over time, the only SAR vessel was joined by two more vessels "JAZA" and later "IBENIK".
Despite having many rescues under his belt, Mr. Branko’s toughest and most demanding SAR events took place in 2005.
The first was the sinking of the “ORIJAK” on the island of Garmenjak Mali (Kornati), where four members of the crew were rescued.
The rescue took place at night from 20.00 to 01.30 hrs, with wind speeds up to 40-45 knots, a sea state of 4-5 metres, and an air temperature of just 4 degrees. The four rescued crew came aboard the "LAVSA" and were found to be hypothermic, but Mr. Branko’s quick reactions meant that they all made a full recovery.
The second rescue took place in November 2005, when Mr. Branko joined the crew of the "IBENIK" and rescued the "MAJA", a sailboat, which had lost its steering capabilities during the Island of Jabuka Regatta.
Again, the rescue was carried out at night, in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, at 35-40 knots (NE). On that occasion, seven sailors were successfully rescued.
With almost 40 years of SAR experience, Mr. Branko has demonstrated his bravery time and time again, dedicating his life to saving lives at sea.