The crew of the Costa Concordia, the huge cruise liner which capsized off the coast of Italy in January killing as many as 32 people, has won the Lloyd's List 'Seafarer of the Year' award.
The citation for the award said the crew provided "true examples of courage and professionalism" during the dangerous night evacuation of the ship after it was fatally holed by a rock off the Tuscan island of Giglio.
A statement on the Lloyds List website said: "When the cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a reef off the island of Giglio on January 13, international attention inevitably focused on the actions of the master.
"But what was largely missed in the media storm that ensued were the genuine examples of bravery and professionalism displayed by members of the crew.
"There were 4229 people on board the vessel at the time of the casualty and while the tragic loss of life caused by this regrettable incident will rightly be the subject of forensic investigations for some time to come, it should not be forgotten that without the skilled response of the majority of the crew, the loss of life could have been far higher."
The ship's captain Francesco Schettino has been blamed for the disaster and is being investigated on charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship and failing to communicate with maritime authorities. His lawyers believe that if the case proceeds to trial, their client will be cleared.
"The 'Seafarer of the Year' award recognises the competence, heroism and professionalism displayed by the sailors every day," the ship's operator Costa Cruises said in a statement.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, some passengers reported acts of bravery and heroism by crew members during the evacuation while others complained that staff appeared ill-prepared, with many unable to speak Italian.
Experts appointed by Italian judges to help an investigation into the accident also criticised a lack of preparation among crew members.
The 114,500 ton Costa Concordia sank off the island of Giglio on January 13 after it came within metres of the shoreline and struck a rock which cut open its hull and caused it to capsize.
- The Telegraph, London