British frigate breaks off international exercise to save Canadian fisherman

Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth abandoned the scenario during a Canadian-hosted anti-submarine exercise in order to help a Canadian fisherman in the North Atlantic.

The Plymouth-based ship was around 100 miles east of Nova Scotia when she picked up a mayday. The crew of the trawler Double Mischief reported that one of their shipmates had fallen badly and was suffering possible heart problems as a result.

The boarding teams abandoned their search of their training vessel, the MV Leeway Odyssey, and raced at top speed in their boats to the fishing vessel which was ten miles away.

Within minutes a small medical team was sent over to the fishing vessel and Monmouth’s doctor Surgeon Lieutenant Elizabeth Walters was able to stabilise the casualty, a 34-year-old Canadian, but determined he was in urgent need of hospital treatment.

The fisherman was carried by one of Monmouth’s boat back to the frigate, while a Seahawk helicopter was scrambled by another participant of the exercise, the American supply ship USNS Robert E Peary.

It landed on Monmouth, collected the casualty and flew him to a waiting ambulance at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport. Lt Walters accompanied the injured man throughout the long flight back.

After evacuating the casualty the warship switched its attention back to exercise Cutlass Fury, bringing her ship’s company to Action Stations to fight alongside her NATO partners, the USS Berkeley and USS Gonzalez, in a simulated air attack using real Canadian F-18 fighter jets as the adversary.