Early yesterday morning EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) warship FS Surcouf came to the rescue of ten mariners at sea 30 miles off the Somali Coast, after their boat, known as a dhow, started to sink into the deep ocean. The master of the Indian flagged dhow had sent out a distress call after the dhow’s engine failed and the vessel started letting in water.
Upon hearing the distress call, FS Surcouf, which was conducting counter piracy patrols 26 nautical miles away, raced to assist the mariners, who by now had ‘abandoned ship’ in rough seas and climbed into the dhow’s life raft.
Upon arrival at the scene, a team of sailors from Surcouf helped to evacuate the men to the French warship. Once onboard, the men, who were in deep shock and very relieved to be rescued, were offered hot showers, food and dry clothes. Forty five minutes after being rescued, the mariners watched as their stricken dhow disappeared into the sea.
After taking time to recover onboard Surcouf, the 10 mariners were then transferred to EU NAVFOR warship, Belgium frigate BNS Louise Marie, for their onward journey to land.
Speaking about his ordeal, the master of the dhow stated “All ten of us know that we are very lucky that warships from the European Union Naval Force were close by and could save us. We have been so well cared for by sailors from both Surcouf and Louise Marie. I would also like to thank all the counter piracy warships in the Indian Ocean because, thanks to them, the seas are safer from pirates.”