French Ship Guépratte and her Panther helicopter
French Ship Guépratte and her Panther helicopter

On 5 February, while conducting maritime security and counter-terrorism operations under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy task force CTF-150 in the Gulf of Aden, the French frigate Guépratte quickly responded to an incident, transporting a critically injured seafarer to Djibouti.

At 9:20pm, as Guépratte was about to transit the Bab-el-Mandeb straight into the Red Sea, the warship received a distress call from a vessel nearby, saying that one of its crew had broken both legs and was in a critical condition. Despite the darkness and challenging weather conditions, Guépratte quickly sent her boarding and medical teams to render assistance.

Once embarked, the team ensured that the vessel was safe while the doctor carefully examined the injured man and provided immediate medical treatment. On board Guépratte, the ship’s Captain, in coordination with the authorities ashore, began preparations for a helicopter medical evacuation of the injured sailor to Djibouti’s French military hospital.

Using her Panther helicopter, Guépratte hoisted the patient to safety before quickly transporting him to Djibouti’s air base, where a medical team received the injured sailor and took him to the Bouffard Joint Hospital to undergo surgery. Thanks to the quick work of the highly-professional and capable boarding and medical teams, the sailor is now recovering and awaiting repatriation to his home country.

For Captain Benoît Hédé-Haüy, the French warship’s Commanding Officer, this is just another example of the solidarity that bonds all seafarers:

“At one time or another, everyone aboard contributed to the success of the operation. I cannot be more proud of the crew for the commitment and excellent teamwork they demonstrated. And seeing the radiant smiles on their tired faces this morning I know that they also feel the same.”

While conducting operations under CTF-150, the ships and their helicopters are busy searching, identifying, approaching and boarding vessels suspected of terrorist related activities. CTF-150 vessels also assist mariners in distress and provide assistance as required.