Navies operating with Combined Task Force 151 conducted a coordinated operation to save a merchant mariner who was taken ill at sea. Ships from Japan and Korea coordinated the rescue mission in the Gulf of Aden to evacuate the mariner to Djibouti for urgent medical care.
Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin was escorting the Panama flagged merchant ship MV Fuji Gas when a crew member was taken ill. ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin dispatched a sea boat to transfer the sick crew member across to the Korean ship. After initial treatment by medical personnel, a helicopter from the Japanese ship Akizuki flew the mariner from the Korean naval escort ship into Djibouti.
Korean Naval Escort Force Surgeon, Lieutenant Gyu Min Kang, who treated the patient at the scene, said: “Thanks to the quick response from all of the crews of ROK Naval Escort Task Group, appropriate treatment to the patient and the decision to transport the patient to the hospital was possible. I am proud to provide medical support to one of the convoy ships for humanitarian reasons and wish for quick recovery of the patient.”
Lieutenant Yonemura, one of the aircrew from JDS Akizuki’s helicopter, which transferred the patient to Djibouti, said: “We were able to carry out the medical evacuation smoothly with the support from CTF151, ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sunshin, Japanese National Command and Djibouti authorities. We will maintain readiness to take prompt action to any contingency situation while conducting counter-piracy operation.”
Both ships are currently in the Gulf of Aden conducting counter piracy missions and recently took part in a multinational and multiagency operation coordinated by CTF151. This took place over 7 days covering areas in the Somali Basin, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman.
Japan is leading CTF 151 for three months, conducting operations to deter and maintain the suppression of piracy in the Horn of Africa. Other nations working in direct support to the Japanese-led headquarters include Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, UK and USA.