GULF OF ADEN – Just after 6pm on Oct. 6, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship USS Anzio (CG 68), assigned as the CMF’s counter-piracy mission Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 flagship, was on scene to provide assistance to a distressed mariner aboard MV Stanley Park.

USS ANZIO was patrolling in the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden as part of the CTF 151 contribution to coverage of the IRTC. As part of the regional counter-piracy response, it is recommended that merchant vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden use the IRTC. One such vessel, the MV Stanley Park, contacted USS ANZIO via bridge-to-bridge radio at approximately 4pm and stated they had a mariner in distress and believed they required immediate medical attention.  On being alerted to the plight of this individual, CTF 151 Commander, Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Pakistan Navy, authorized ANZIO to take appropriate steps to respond.   Captain J. Dorey, Commanding Officer of ANZIO, ordered the warship to proceed to an intercept point on the MV Stanley Mark’s current course. On arrival, a sea boat was launched so that the warship’s Visit, Board, Search and Security (VBSS) team could approach the vessel and see what assistance might be provided to the illness-stricken individual.

At approximately 6:20pm, the sea boat pulled alongside the MV Stanley Mark and met with the ship’s captain and the distressed mariner.  Upon inspection Anzio’s medical team, it was established that the individual needed to be evacuated from the merchant vessel to the closest medical facility.  After medical personnel determined the mariner was stable for travel, he was transported via the sea boat back to USS ANZIO where he was transferred to a helicopter.  The helicopter then transported the mariner to RFA Fort Victoria, which had a medical doctor on board and could provide adequate medical care until reaching port in Oman.

Rear Adm. Shaukat said:

“One of our duties as members of the international naval community is to come to the aid of distressed mariners at sea.  This event with a mariner suffering from a significant illness was an opportunity for CTF-151 and USS ANZIO to fulfil that duty and provide much needed medical attention to ensure this individual received the necessary care in the quickest time possible.”

In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in cooperation with non-member forces, CTF 151’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities, in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.

CTF 151 is one of three task forces operating under the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition. CTF 151′s counter-piracy operations focus on the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Somali basin, an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles.  USS ANZIO (CG 68) is currently assigned as the flag ship for CTF 151 for the period Jul to Nov 2011.