Former Australian Antarctic expeditioners involved in the rescue of passengers from the stricken resupply ship Nella Dan at Macquarie Island have been honoured with an Australian Bravery Decoration.

The Group Citation for Bravery has been awarded to five men, Kenneth Stanley Barrington, Dudley Raymond Crowe, Timothy Gay, Gregory Dale Kenny and Alistair Andrew Scott.

They were members of the 35 Water Transport Squadron attached to the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition when the accident occurred on the evening of December 3, 1987.

On that night, the Nella Dan was anchored off the station at Macquarie Island when strong winds and huge seas caused her to drag anchor.

The ship’s hull ploughed into the rocky sea floor, bursting a fuel tank.

The members of the Squadron sprang into action, sailing three Light Amphibious Resupply Craft (LARC) into the huge seas to evacuate almost eighty Antarctic expeditioners and ship’s crew.

Despite the treacherous conditions and leaking fuel, it took them less than one hour to complete the rescue.

The Australian Bravery Decorations are researched by the honours secretariat at Government House and recommendations are made to the Governor-General by the 14-member Australian Bravery Decorations Council.

The awards will be presented to the recipients by Her Excellency Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC at ceremonies early next year.