EU Naval Force warships have once again come to the rescue of fishermen off the coast of Somalia.
Following FGS Hessen’s rescue of a 14 year old fisherman from a capsized boat on Wednesday 12 February, this latest rescue, which happened on Thursday 13 February, saw French warship, FS Siroco and German warship, FGS Hessen working together to save the life of a severely injured fisherman from a Korean fishing vessel, after his stomach was punctured by the tail of a stingray fish.
The EU Naval Force became aware of the incident after a distress call was relayed by Korean Navy warship, Kang Gam Chang, to the EU flagship, FS Siroco.
As the stingray attack on world-famous “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin showed in 2006, this type of injury can be life-threatening, and with FS Siroco being the closest military unit, the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Herve Bléjean, gave the order to send a medical team across by boat to assess the man’s injuries.
It quickly became apparent that the fisherman’s wounds would require specialist treatment, so he was carefully air-lifted by helicopter to FS Siroco, where his condition was stabilized. Shortly afterwards, he was transferred to FGS Hessen and to the waiting medical surgery team on board.
The surgeon on board the German frigate carried out a five-hour operation on the wounded patient, and afterwards, FGS Hessen’s doctor was able to report that the operation had been a success.
FGS Hessen then transferred the fisherman to a hospital in Salalah, Oman, where his condition continues to be monitored by the doctors there.
Speaking about the successful medical evacuation, Rear Admiral Herve Bléjean stated “I am very proud of the EU Naval Force. The warships and aircraft maintain a constant watch at sea, deterring pirate attacks on seafarers, many whom bring trade into Europe and humanitarian aid to the Somali people. But as this week has once again shown, European Union warships also stand ready to assist mariners in distress. Without our assistance, it is clear that this fisherman would have died. Instead, he can return to his family, safe and well.”
Press Release, February 17, 2014; Image: EU Navfor