Kinilala ng International Maritime Organization si Probationary Ensign Ralph Barajan ng Philippine Coast Guard sa pinamalas niyang pmabihirang katapangan at kabayanihan. Si Barajan, isang off duty Coast guard officer ay gagawaran ng 2020 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea dahil sa pagligtas niya sa 62 sakay ng MV Siargao Princess na lumubog sa Cebu noong November 7, 2019. Ito ang mabilis na humingi ng tulong sa Coast Guard at kalmadong nagrescue sa mga sakay ng passenger vessel.
Si Barajan ay isa sa mga bibigyan ng parangal sa 119th founding anniversary ng Philippine Coast Guard sa October 14.
“P/Ens Barajan’s display of courage, determination, and presence of mind which led to the successful rescue of 62 victims, including himself is indeed worthy of emulation and respect for him, his family, and for the PCG – as a perfect demonstration of the Coast Guard service,” sabi ni PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr.
Narito ang report ni P/Ens Barajan na naisubmit niya sa IMO:
“At around 09:30 a.m. of 07 November 2019, MV Siargao Princess departed Catagbacan Port in Loon, Bohol enroute to Poblacion in Sibonga, Cebu with 55 passengers, including P/Ens Barajan and seven crew members.
While underway to port of destination, the MV Siargao Princess encountered big waves approximately two meters high, resulting to flooding inside the vessel.
P/Ens Barajan, who was calmly sleeping before the incident occurred was awaken by panicking passengers at around 11:05 a.m. He immediately informed Coast Guard Sub-Station Bato and Coast Guard Station Southern Cebu regarding their situation and requested for assistance.
While waiting for the PCG rescue team, P/Ens Barajan assisted passengers by distributing lifejackets and instructing them stay calm and seated to maintain vessel stability. He also sought the assistance of the crew members for the provision of lifejackets to children onboard.
Afterwards, P/Ens Barajan looked for the captain and convinced him to declare abandon ship as the best option, given the gravity of the situation. After declaration of abandon ship, P/Ens Barajan guided the passengers in safely jumping off the vessel one by one. He jumped off last after ensuring that no person was left behind. MV Siargao Princess sank in less than ten minutes after it was declared abandon ship.
While floating on the water and waiting for rescue, P/Ens Barajan tied the lifejackets of passengers and crew members in groups so that everyone remained secured. Said effort allowed the personnel of BRP Suluan (MRRV-4406) to easily locate the victims on the water, thereby contributing to the swift conduct of rescue operations. All passengers and crew members were declared safe aboard BRP Suluan (MRRV-4406).
While on their way to the nearest port for further assistance, the passengers were surprised to learn that P/Ens Barajan was also a passenger. They thought he was the vessel captain by how he swiftly and confidently led their safe evacuation from the ill-fated vessel.”