On Sunday 25 May 2014, French frigate FS Floréal, which is currently deployed with the EU Naval Force, provided towing assistance to a Yemeni dhow in the Gulf of Aden after it was seen drifting without power at sea.
The crew of a Japanese Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) had earlier sighted the dhow and one of its crew members, who was waving a white cloth as a distress signal.
The EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral zur Mühlen, who is embarked on board the EU Naval Force flagship, FGS Brandenburg, immediately signalled FS Floreal to sail towards the dhow and provide appropriate assistance.
The helicopter of the French frigate was launched and located the dhow at a distance of 120 km from FS Floreal. After proceeding at maximum speed, FS Floréal arrived at the scene a few hours later. As the dhow did not have VHF radio communications, FS Floréal’s Boarding Team was dispatched to make contact with the master of the dhow. The master explained that he and his crew had been drifting in open water for three days after his dhow suffered propeller problems.
As the dhow’s propeller could not be repaired at sea, at first light the next morning FS Floréal took the dhow under tow and after navigating at a very slow speed, arrived close to the Yemeni coastline 13 hours later. The dhow was then taken under tow by another Yemeni dhow so that it could enter port for repairs.
Before they departed, the master and crew of the dhow thanked the French Navy sailors for their assistance.
Press Release, June 04, 2014; Image: EU NAVFOR Somalia