Only 10 days into her operational deployment, HMAS Darwin, in cooperation with Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Ship MSS Nusrat, has come to the rescue of 13 fishermen found adrift at sea off Pakistan. The men were discovered last Saturday, 1 March.
The men, who claimed to be Iranian nationals, said they had been drifting for five days in international waters after their boat was reportedly struck by an unknown vessel and sank.
HMAS Darwin launched a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, provided food, water, minor medical care and safety to the shipwrecked men.
HMAS Darwin remained with the men until MSS Nusrat arrived and returned them to shore.Darwin’s actions were undertaken in accordance with Australia’s obligations under international law and the 1974 International Safety of Life at Sea Convention.
Australia’s Joint Task Force 633 Commander, Major General Craig Orme, AM, CSC, said the successful rescue showcased the strong relationship and ongoing cooperation with the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and its coalition partners.
“The US led CMF, CMF’s Pakistani-led Combined Task Force 151 and Australia’s Joint Task Force 633 Headquarters cooperated to secure assistance from Pakistan’s Search and Rescue Authorities,” Major General Orme said.
“It was a good demonstration of coalition interoperability,” he said.
HMAS Darwin is currently deployed as part of the Australian Defence Force’s Operation SLIPPER and is conducting maritime security and interdiction operations with the CMF in support of deterring terrorism and promoting peace and security in the maritime regions of the Middle East and Indian Ocean.
Press Release, March 5, 2014, 2014; Image: Australian Navy