Crew members from the flagship of a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Task Force have rendered technical and medical assistance to the stricken crew of a Pakistani dhow.
FS Somme, the command ship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, was conducting a routine patrol off the Yemeni coast when she received a request for assistance from a merchant vessel that had been adrift for three days.
Whilst en route to Somalia, catastrophic damage to part of the sail left the dhow unable to change direction, as well as leaving the master with a badly-injured eye.
A short while after receiving the call for help, Somme’s boarding team arrived on board the dhow accompanied by the Ship’s doctor, Lieutenant Gaétan Girondin, and three of the ship’s engineering staff.
While the mechanics set about repairing the broken sail, Dr. Girondin was able to dispense medication as well as looking after the Captain’s eye, which he had injured trying to repair the damage.
He was also able to provide initial treatment for tooth, back and skin problems suffered by members of the 19-man crew.
Dr. Girondin said: “It was very rewarding to have been able to help these mariners, some of whom suffered from a range of illnesses and injuries.
“I’m particularly glad that I was able to help the captain, because if Somme hadn’t been there, the injury to his eye could quite easily have become infected and he would have lost it.”
FS Somme’s cooks provided hot meals and freshly-baked bread for the crew while her engineers took the broken mast back to their workshops onboard. Less than an hour later the sail was fully repaired and, two hours after receiving the call for help, Somme was able to bid the dhow and crew farewell.
Approach and Assist Visits like this one are a key part of CTF 150 operations, and allow the ships and sailors of the Task Force to gain valuable insight into the local area. They also help build the trust and relationship between CMF and mariners on the high seas.
CTF 150 forms part of CMF and works to coordinate maritime security operations across their area of operations. Its principal remit is the disruption of illicit activity and promote security, stability and prosperity in the Northern Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.