A Japanese warship working in direct support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) organisation has come to the aid of a drifting dhow in the Gulf of Aden, towing it safely into Yemeni territorial waters.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force’s JS Takanami, currently operating as part of CMF’s counter-piracy task force CTF-151, came across the disabled dhow early in the morning on 9 October. The vessel reported engine trouble and an inability to communicate using the telephone. Once the situation was confirmed via VHF radio, the JS Takanami’s Commanding Officer, Commander Hiroshi Ueda, decided to assist the dhow back to Yemeni territorial waters.
It took ten hours to carefully tow the dhow back to Yemeni waters, where the Yemeni Coast Guard took control of the situation and assisted the dhow the final few miles to Aden. The crew were taken to a local hospital for a check-up and are now recovering from their ordeal.
Commander Ueda said:
“When we first came across the troubled dhow, naturally my crew were eager to assist. Fortunately, I received great support from the headquarters team at CTF 151 and we are very happy that the operation was successful.”
Commodore Tony Millar, of the Royal New Zealand Navy and currently Commander of CTF-151, is also very pleased with the outcome of the rescue. He said:
“The sea can be a very dangerous place and it is the duty of every mariner to assist any vessels and crews in danger. I am very grateful to Commander Ueda and the crew of Takanami for their professionalism and dedication to the customs of the sea.”
CTF-151 is a multinational task force which conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The aim is to deter, disrupt and prevent acts of piracy. CTF 151 operates in an area of international waters of more than 1.1 million square miles (2.5 million square kilometres), roughly the size of the Mediterranean and Red Sea combined.