A COURAGEOUS sea captain who won a bravery award for his rescue bid during a major oil rig disaster has been hailed as a man “who always put others first” following his death at his home in South Tyneside.
Captain Sean Ennis swapped a life at sea to move to South Shields in 1999, and set up a shop with his wife Lynda in the town in 2006.
He always wanted to help people, he always put others first. He was a great husband and a great father ... a very kindhearted man.Lynda Ennis
He died of heart failure at his home in South Shields on Wednesday, February 18, at the age of 60.
The father-of-four, who is originally from Hull, earned a commendation from the Government after his ship was the first on the scene to help survivors of the Piper Alpha disaster.
While on the standby vessel Sandhaven, Capt Ennis responded to a Mayday call on July 6, 1988, when the oil rig exploded into a raging inferno. The catastrophe killed 167 men, including two of Capt Ennis’s shipmates – one of them was his best friend, who died when a second explosion engulfed their fast rescue craft, onto which they were pulling survivors from the sea.
Both were awarded the George Medal posthumously.
Mr Ennis met Lynda while working on a dry-docked ship in South Shields, with the pair marrying in September 2002. They went on to run the Fancy Goods shop, in Highfield Road, from 2006 until 2009.
Mrs Ennis, 57, said: “He always wanted to help people, he always put others first. He was a great husband and a great father. He was a very kindhearted man.”
Mr Ennis’ funeral will be held at South Shields Crematorium at 2.30pm on Wednesday.