Twenty mariners have been awarded UK Merchant Navy Medals for outstanding service and contribution to the industry.

This years list includes TradeWinds former special columnist Fazilette ‘Bobby’ Khan, who is being honoured for her services to the marine environment.

Khan, known to many readers for her “Dear Matey” column which she wrote while serving as a radio and later environmental officer for Princess Cruises, set up the marine environmental charity Green Seas Trust in memory of her mother Haida Khan to combat plastic waste in the oceans.

The charity has overseen the BinForGreenSeas campaign, which has installed nautically-themed recycling bins on the seafronts of towns around the UK coast.

"We all hear about the Great Garbage Patch in the news. Well, I have sailed through it," Khan said. "It was really heart-wrenching to see the destruction of this pristine environment happening before my very own eyes."

Another Princess Cruises officer Max Bingle, 24, was honoured for responding to a distress call in pitch black, rough waters.

Despite his own craft becoming endangered during the rescue mission, with the help of two others, saved the lives he saved the lives of three seafarers on a sinking boat.

Bingle is the youngest person ever to receive the award.

UK maritime minister Robert Courts praised Bingle's incredible bravery and selflessness.

International Labour Organization director general Guy Platten also received the medal for his services to the maritime sector, from lifesaving projects and most recently, his efforts in supporting the government to resolve the crew change crisis.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has repatriated 1,500 UK seafarers from overseas and a further 15,000 foreign national seafarers from 110 nationalities have been flown home from the UK.