Sailors from Italian Navy warship, ITS Libeccio, which is currently deployed in the Indian Ocean as part of the European Union’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta, have provided much-needed food and water to twenty four stranded seafarers.
With help from the local community, the seafarers had taken refuge on a small island west of Socotra a few days earlier after their vessel, MV Focomar, suffered engine problems at sea. With limited radio communications, they had been able to put out a may-day call to say that they were stranded, with little food and water. The may-day was picked up by the EU Naval Force.
In coordination with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, based in Sana’a, ITS Libeccio was tasked by the EU Force Commander to sail at best speed towards the island and provide assistance.
When in range, the ship’s helicopter was quickly launched, and after making contact with the seafarers on the ground, boxes containing food and water were air dropped to the ground.
The seafarers are now en-route to the port of Djibouti, having been picked up by a tug sent by the vessel’s owner.