Royal Navy award for warship crew involved in heroic eight-hour rescue

HMS Argyll saved 27 lives from container ship MV Grande America when it caught fire off the French coast.

Crewmembers from a Plymouth warship have received a humanitarian award from the Royal Navy for their compassion after a heroic rescue mission saved 27 sailors trapped in an inferno at sea.

Back in March, Devonport based HMS Argyll's crew spent eight hours saving every soul aboard the Grande America in the Bay of Biscay after the ship’s cargo of containers and cars caught fire - in "horrendous" sea conditions.

The frigate – on her way home to Plymouth after nine months away in the Asia-Pacific region – responded to a mayday from the 28,000-tonne merchant ship about 150 miles southwest of Brest: the crew were fighting a losing battle against the flames and were abandoning ship into 5m to 6m seas at night.

Now, the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll has hosted Admiral Sir Phillip Jones KCB ADC during his farewell visit as First Sea Lord to HMNB Devonport.

And, while on board,  the '1SL'  presented members of Ship’s medical team with the ‘George Beeching Prize for compassion’, awarded for their actions when rescuing 27 members of the MV Grande America who had abandoned ship in the Bay of Biscay.

 “I am proud that the medical team on HMS Argyll have been recognised for the care given to those rescued from the Grande America,” said Surgeon Lieutenant Nathaniel Roocroft the Ships’ Doctor and leader of the medical staff.