Port captain honoured for refugee rescue

Fatima Tripp, who received a medal awarded posthumously to her late husband Captain William Tripp for services to rescuing refugees
Fatima Tripp, who received a medal awarded posthumously to her late husband Captain William Tripp for services to rescuing refugees

A Fleetwood man has been awarded a top honour, posthumously, for his help in rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

Captain William Tripp diedin September before he had chance to receive the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.

Having been taken ill suddenly whilst on board his ship Vos Grace, Capt Tripp was taken to the nearest hospital in Kos before being airlifted to Athens a few days later where he died at the age of 60.

His usual job was onboard a standby ship for the gas and oil rigs, working for the Greek company Vroom.

He had been rescuing Syrian refugees around the Greek Islands since February.

He was nominated for the award by his company before his death and in a proud ceremony, his wife Fatima received the medal on his behalf by Princess Anne.

Fatima and Capt Tripp had been married for 24 years and lived in Spain. She said: “I’m very proud to receive the medal, it was a very special moment.”

At the ceremony, UK Minister for Shipping John Hayes said: “Merchant Navy seafarers and those serving in the fishing fleets provide a tremendous service to our island nation and it is only right that they are recognised for the vital role they play, often in difficult and dangerous conditions.

“Coinciding with Merchant Navy Day, it provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of our brave seafarers.“

Captain Tripp’s three children still live in Fleetwood and leaves grandchildren too.