UK: Royal Marines from HMS St Albans Help Save Lives of Three Sailors

Royal Marines from HMS St Albans Help Save Lives of Three Sailors

Sailors and Royal Marines from HMS St Albans helped to save the lives of three Bangladeshis who were thrown into the ocean by pirates. The frigate offered medical assistance to the men, who were plucked from the water by a passing dhow after spending three days clinging to flotsam.

This is the moment sailors and Royal Marines clamber aboard a dhow in the Indian Ocean and help save the lives of three men who’d suffered a harrowing ordeal at the hands of pirates.

HMS St Albans responded to an SOS from the Al Mukhtar after the boat reported it had picked up three critically-ill men from the ocean.

The Saint, which is in the later stages of a six-month deployment east of Suez throttling criminal activity and providing reassurance to law-abiding mariners, picked up the distress signal and sent her Merlin aloft to find the dhow.

The helicopter, from 829 Naval Air Squadron in Culdrose, quickly found the vessel roughly nine miles west of its reported location.

In spite of a significant language barrier, the Merlin fliers managed to establish communication with the Al Mukhtar, encouraging it to steer an intercept course with the fast-approaching frigate and receiving basic information on the state of the casualties and crew.

With the dhow in sight, the Saint put her sea boats in the water with Royal Marines Commandos and RN personnel, plus one Army interpreter aboard.

It was their task to secure the cargo dhow so that the ship’s medical officer could embark and assess the casualties.

With the help of interpreter Cpl Emma Warburton, the three men recounted their ordeal: they were Bangladeshis, forced into the water when their boat was seized by pirates. They had clung on to barrels and crates, surviving in the water for three days until the Al Mukhtar came across them and hauled them out of the sea.

The trio were in an unstable condition so time was of the essence. The medical team worked fast to stabilise them so that they could be transported ashore by the fastest means.

Thanks to staff at the operations cell of Combined Task Force 150 – the international maritime force to which St Albans is currently attached – the fastest means proved to be two fast Omani Police boats that had arrived at the scene.

With the rescue mission complete, the Portsmouth-based frigate resumed her patrol – defined by CTF 150 as ‘to deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by extremist terrorist organisations to use the maritime environment as a venue for an attack or as a means to transport personnel, weapons and other materials’.


Source: royalnavy, October 18, 2011