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Mechanic saved vessel and averted marine disaster

Christos XXII, the tug that CPO Neil Halsey helped to salvage Credit: Royal Navy

Armed only with softwood wedges to hammer into holes and two commercial pumps, Navy mechanic, CPO Neil Halsey demonstrated “gallant endeavour and outstanding leadership” and has received the Queen's Commendation for bravery for his work in salvaging a ship in distress.

He led his team in a dark room filled with diesel fumes, shoulder-height oily water, and lit by a single lamp. Despite freezing conditions that made gripping the hammers extremely difficult, Halsey remained resolute and his determination ensured the vessel stayed afloat for the salvage boat.

If the tug had capsized or smashed on the rocks, more than 200 tonnes of diesel would have leaked out, just a few miles from Torbay’s beaches.


HMS Lancaster mechanic commended by the Queen

Chief Petty Officer Neil Halsey, who has been awarded a Queen's Commendation for bravery Credit: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy engineer from Portsmouth-based HMS Lancaster has been awarded a Queen's Commendation for bravery.

Chief Petty Officer Nail Halsey, a Marine Engineering Mechanic, repeatedly entered freezing waters in the engine room of a sinking tug to stop water gushing in.

He was leading a three-man team on board the stricken tug Christos XXII. She had been hit by a vessel she was towing and was floundering close to rocks off the coast of Torbay on 13th January 2013.