Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) responded to a medical emergency aboard MT Hannibal II, which is currently held by pirates off the coast of Somalia, Dec 17.

Speaking through an intermediary, the pirates issued a request for assistance because a member of the Hannibal II’s crew required urgent medical attention.

The Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Pattani was the nearest ship in the vicinity of the MV Hannibal II. Pattani is currently serving with Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), CMF’s counter-piracy mission.

Pattani evacuated the crew member using her ship’s small boat. He was then transferred by helicopter from Pattani to the German frigate FGS Hamburg, which is part of the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR). He is now receiving medical treatment.

CMF spokesperson Lt Cdr Susie Thomson RN said,

“Combined Maritime Forces place the utmost importance on providing humanitarian assistance in emergency cases, irrespective of the fact that the continued detention of the MT Hannibal II is an act of piracy, which is a serious crime under international law.

“CMF ships, drawn from a range of nations, continue to work together to help counter the scourge of piracy in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.”

CTF-151′s mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. In conjunction with NATO and EUNAVFOR, CTF-151 conducts patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and supports Best Management Practice (BMP) methods for piracy avoidance that are promoted to the shipping industry.

CMF is a unique naval partnership based in Bahrain, consisting of 25 member nations, which contribute ships, aircraft and personnel in support of the mission.

CMF works to promote security and prosperity across some 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East and is committed to defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation, and promoting a safe maritime environment.