Operation Atalanta flagship trains for medical emergencies off Somalia

The medical team on board the Spanish Navy landing platform dock ESPS Galicia, Operation Atalanta’s current flagship, recently carried out a helicopter casualty evacuation exercise as part of medical emergency readiness training.

Sailors regularly conduct medical exercises at sea to ensure they remain prepared to deal with medical emergencies. With medical facilities on board, the Spanish team can carry out a range of medical procedures, from basic first aid to life-saving surgery and stabilization of multiple casualties.

During a recent patrol off the coast of Somalia, ESPS Galicia’s medical team and helicopter aircrew worked together to carry out a helicopter casualty evacuation exercise. To make the exercise as realistic as possible, a sailor from ESPS Galicia acted as an injured seafarer who needed to be airlifted to ESPS Galicia in order to receive urgent medical attention.

After strapping the ‘casualty’ on to a stretcher, the helicopter crew carefully lowered him to ESPS Galicia’s flight deck. Once on the deck, the medical team swung into action to take the casualty to the medical centre for treatment.

ESPS Galicia joined the counter-piracy operation in February 2017 for its fourth deployment to the mission and the second time as command ship.

The 1997-built ship has embarked two SH-3D helicopters and four remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) as well as a Marine Corps Special Operations squad.