On July 23rd, the frigate ‘Numancia’ and the COVAM (Spanish Navy Surveillance and Operations Center) provided support to the Spanish trawler ‘Albacora Cuatro’ in the Indian Ocean.
The COVAM received a call from the Spanish trawler informing of an engine breakdown and was sailing adrift. A member of the crew was seriously injured in the foot and required urgent medical evacuation.
The COVAM contacted the frigate ‘Numancia’ currently operating in the Indian Ocean, to coordinate a possible MEDEVAC (medical evacuation).
At that moment the ‘Numancia’ was 600 miles (1,100 kms.) from the ‘Albacora Cuatro’. The frigate got in contact with the trawler to size up the situation first hand. The ‘Atalanta’ operations command was also informed and the closest naval unit in the area (200 miles), the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate ‘Van Speijk’ was requested to inform of the situation and try to coordinate the assistance. The Dutch frigate got in contact with the Spanish trawler to decide a meeting point and provide medical counseling. Meanwhile the crew of the ‘Albacora Cuatro’ managed to repair the engine and could sail under her own steam to Victoria, capital of the Seychelles Islands. At 18:30, local time, the trawler arrived at Port Victoria where an ambulance was waiting for the injured sailor.
Although the ‘Albacora Cuatro’ could finally arrive at port using her own engine, the Spanish Navy provided the necessary assistance to coordinate a possible MEDEVAC. The frigate ‘Numancia’ was in permanent contact with the Spanish trawler from her position off the coast of Somalia in order to permanently update the situation, and keep the naval forces in the area informed. The COVAM in Cartagena was also in touch to manage and monitor the possible necessary assistance.
Press Release, July 29, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy