On Friday 7 August 2015, maritime forces in Puntland carried out a successful operation to rescue crew members from a stricken Yemeni fishing vessel, FV Al Amal, which had run aground on to a Somali beach after it suffered engine problems.
Since the Operation Atalanta flagship, ESPS Galicia, was in the vicinity conducting counter-piracy patrols, the Force Commander, Rear Admiral Alfonso Fernández Gómez de Córdoba, tasked the Force’s Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) to fly over the beach where FV Al Amal was stranded, and pass on information to the local authorities.
Having been rescued, the seafarers were taken to Garowe, and, with the support of the Kenyan Government and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have been repatriated. Two of the crew remain in Puntland, as investigations continue into the status of the vessel and its eventual salvage.
The successful rescue of the crew highlights how coordination between maritime forces is vital in ensuring seafarers’ safety.