Sailor of the Year award – Maritime Forces Atlantic

From left: CPO1 Barry Eady, HMCS Charlottetown Coxswain; CPO1 Daniel Mercier, Fleet Chief; MS Stewart Riggs, the Atlantic Fleet’s new Sailor of the Year; Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, and Cdr Nathan Decicco, Commanding Officer of HMCS Charlottetown. Photo by Mona Ghiz, MARLANT PA

From left: CPO1 Barry Eady, HMCS Charlottetown Coxswain; CPO1 Daniel Mercier, Fleet Chief; MS Stewart Riggs, the Atlantic Fleet’s new Sailor of the Year; Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, and Cdr Nathan Decicco, Commanding Officer of HMCS Charlottetown. Photo by Mona Ghiz, MARLANT PA

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

While HMCS Charlottetown was conducting a replenishment at sea in the Baltic during its recent Operation Reassurance deployment, one of the probes fell out of place, causing fuel to burst out onto the ship.

The immediate action of the ship’s rapid response team, which included MS Stewart Riggs, ensured the potentially dangerous spill was contained and quickly cleaned up.

“We ensured there was no injuries, because casualties are the first priority, but then we cleaned the fuel up and got the job done safely,” MS Riggs said, days after receiving the Maritime Forces Atlantic Sailor of the Year Award during a ceremony on the ship’s flight deck.

Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic, and CPO1 Daniel Mercier, Fleet Chief, made the presentation, which comes with a plaque, gift cards to Falls Lake and the CFB Halifax Curling Club, and plenty of bragging rights.

The award is presented annually to a member of the Atlantic Fleet who consistently goes above and beyond their regular duties, such as during the Charlottetown incident, to support their ship and colleagues.

With so many members of the ship’s company having excelled through 2017, particularly during Charlottetown’s six-month deployment, MS Riggs said he was surprised to be chosen, and is appreciative of the recognition.

“A friend of mine, MS Amy Dumas, won this award last year, so it’s an honour to dethrone her and take the title, for now.”

In addition to being a Marine Technician as his main trade and a member of the rapid response and helo crash rescue firefighting teams, he’s also described as an integral part of the ship’s dive team, going in the water multiple times to conduct poker gauge readings in rough diving conditions while deployed. He said his work as a diver was a highlight from his time at sea in 2017, specifically the chance to train with the team of Croatian Clearance Divers and build interoperability among allies.

Originally from British Columbia, he’s been on the East Coast for more than a decade, and has become a leader in terms of local community involvement. He helped Charlottetown’s Children’s Wish team raise more than $40,000 during their annual run across PEI last year, and outside of work, he’s an active member of the volunteer Eastern Shore Ground Search and Rescue group.

“LS Riggs consistently shows the qualities that we rely upon to form the foundation of our future fleet: skill, proficiency, initiative, tenacity and respect,” said Cdr Nathan Decicco, Charlottetown’s Commanding Officer.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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