Not only is Capt Menon the first female captain in the Indian Merchant Navy, but she is the only woman to have won the award, which recognises those who risk their own lives to save others at sea.
As waves rose to 9m and wind speed reached 60-70 knots, she commanded a rescue operation last June that required three attempts to get the fishermen onboard the massive tanker via a pilot ladder from their small boat.
As far as being a path-breaking female ship captain goes, Radhika Menon doesn't appear to make a big deal of it. She says gender means little on the kind of ships she works on.
"[It is] gender neutral in the sense that even if you are female, you know how to do your job," she says.
"People appreciate you, they respect you, you'll be able to carry out your orders and all that."