The guided-missile cruiser USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) provided medical assistance to a vessel in distress in the Arabian Sea, approximately 40 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Aug. 18, while conducting maritime security operations in the area.
The three-person crew of motor vessel Abir Alqaray No. 4, a 35-meter Saudi Arabian-flagged dhow contacted The Sullivans by visual means asking for medical assistance for an unconscious crew member.
The Sullivans received the request while in the process of assisting another Saudi Arabian-flagged dhow named Pal Khat No. 4 with a casualty to her engine.
According to Ensign Elizabeth Decker, conning officer, the crew did not speak English, but it was clear that they were in some form of distress.
“We saw the dhow incoming at a high rate of speed, and we maneuvered to prevent a collision. After our maneuver, we noticed the personnel on board waving frantically, and it was apparent they needed assistance,” said Decker.
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christina McCullough embarked The Sullivans’ small boat to assist the Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team along with a translator and boarded the dhow to provide supplies and medical assistance to the cre
Chief Hospital Corpsman Dawn Isais, The Sullivans’ independent duty corpsman diagnosed the patient with heat exhaustion via bridge-to-bridge radio communication with McCullough who checked the Saudi patient’s vital signs. The Sullivans provided food, water and ice to treat the patient. Twenty minutes after embarking the dhow the member became conscious, and was able to retain water and food.
“This was my first time in 70-plus approaches doing anything like this, and it was a very exciting and rewarding experience. They were extremely appreciative,” said Ensign Mathew Stevens, the VBSS boarding officer.
Coalition forces have a longstanding tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance, and search and rescue efforts, said Cmdr. Samuel de Castro, commanding officer of The Sullivans.
“The Sullivans crew was happy to provide maritime support, and relieved that the dhow contacted us for help. The dhow crew had been out fishing for multiple hours in the high temperatures of the Northern Arabian Gulf summer heat and miscalculated water consumption,” Castro said, adding, “We were pleased to be able to assist them in the way of food, water, and medical assistance.”
The Sullivans is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
Press Release, September 05, 2013