A 24-year-old sailor who showed “incredible bravery” saving three men from drowning has become the youngest recipient of the Merchant Navy Medal.
Max Bingle, from Paignton, received the award after navigating rough seas in the Caribbean to help a sinking boat.
He and two colleagues from a Princes Cruises ship carried out the rescue mission in July 2019.
Mr Bingle said saving sailors in distress was part of what they he was “trained to do”.
After receiving a coastguard distress call, third officer Mr Bingle lowered a fast rescue boat and sailed with his crewmates to reach the three men on the sinking boat.
He took the trio back to the ship he was working on, Sea Princess, where they given medical care.
‘Call of duty’
Mr Bingle said the commendation had come “completely out of the blue”.
“Everybody on board acted in the highest maritime tradition by going to the aid of fellow sailors in peril on the sea,” he said.
“Saving lives is what we are trained to do as seafarers, and I’m grateful for this recognition.”
Another recipient of the medal is Fazilette Khan, for her charity Green Seas Trust’s work placing nautical-themed recycling bins towns in coastal towns.
Maritime minister Robert Courts said all the recipients of the award had “gone beyond the call of duty” in service to both their industry and the UK.
He said: “It’s a special honour to award the medal to Max, its youngest ever recipient.
“He showed incredible bravery in saving three fellow sailors from drowning in rough seas, and this award is a recognition of his incredible selflessness that night.”