FGS Niedersachsen Members Evacuated to Hospital
On Saturday 7 September, two members of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) warship FGS Niedersachsen were evacuated due to medical reasons to a hospital in Salalah, Oman. The ship had been conducting counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.
The ship broke from counter-piracy operations and closed the coast of Oman’s Port Salalah, shortly after the ship launched its embarked “Sea Lynx” board helicopter with the ship’s doctor and both patients on board to land and take them to the hospital.
“The required specialist-focused capabilities for this medical issues were not available on board, so we decided to bring the two crew members to a medical specialist assessment to a hospital in Salalah” said the doctor of the FGS Niedersachsen.
The two soldiers were treated at the hospital and are making a recovery. One crew member is already back on board, the second colleague was transferred back to Germany for further specialist treatment there.
“The cooperation with the local authorities and the embassy in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) was excellent, which made it possible to treat the two crew members as quickly as possible.” said Commander Kurt Leonards, commanding officer of the German frigate.
Medical transfers are a routine operation carried out by units of EU NAVFOR. In the past, their units have also assisted merchant ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean who have required medical attention.
In general, the ships deployed with Operation Atalanta also have extensive medical facilities onboard, however if a member of the ships company of any unit requires medical assistance beyond that treatable onboard they will be transferred to the nearest better equipped unit or the nearest hospital within the region. The hospitals suitable for such transfers are regularly checked to ensure they meet medical standards. The safety of crews of ships is of the highest priority for the Commanding Officers of units and operations.
Sunday 8 September, following the evacuation, the German warship returned to her counter-piracy duties.
Press Release, September 11, 2013; Image: EU Navfor