On Tuesday 12 August, whilst conducting counter-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, the EU Naval Force flagship and Italian Navy destroyer, ITS Andrea Doria, gave assistance to a stricken yacht.
The yacht’s two French crewmembers had put out a mayday signal after they suffered engine failure. The mayday was picked up by the German Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), which is operating with the EU Naval Force, and they quickly relayed the signal to the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Guido Rando, on board ITS Andrea Doria.
As she was the nearest warship to the yacht, ITS Andrea Doria launched her helicopter and closed the sea area to provide assistance.
Upon arrival at the scene, a team of Italian Navy marine engineers went on board the yacht and after a couple of hours repaired the damaged engine.
Four days later, on 16 of August, once more the German MPRA received a mayday from the same sailing yacht. The yacht had lost steering and asked for fuel in order to reach the next safe port.
The Spanish frigate ESPS Navarra, heading to the same port, was tasked by the Force Commander to alter course in order to aid the yacht. Around five o’clock the next morning, ESPS Navarra located the drifting yacht.
After providing the needed fuel and repairs of the steering, the Spanish frigate monitored the yacht until she reached the safety of the nearest port.
Speaking about the assistance given to the yacht, Rear Admiral Rando stated “The two crewmembers have been very fortunate. They were in a perilous situation, not only had they suffered engine failure and ran out of fuel, they were also in a sea area where pirates have previously attacked small vessels such as this. Whilst the threat from piracy has reduced, vessels should be in no doubt that the threat still remains. If we become complacent to the threat of piracy, there is a real chance that it will return”.
The combined threat assessment of International Naval Counter Piracy Forces is and remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the High Risk Area (HRA) or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom.