Eight sailors who abandoned their sinking ship have been rescued from the Gulf of Aden following a 30 hour search involving two international organisations and six nations.
New Zealand-led Combined Task Force-151 (CTF-151), a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) task group based in Bahrain coordinated a search effort involving the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), as well as ships from the United Kingdom, Turkey and Japan and air craft from Germany and Japan.
After receiving a distress call from sinking merchant vessel Al Hasani on November 19, British warship HMS Defender raised the alarm with CMF, a 30-nation partnership conducting counter-piracy and maritime security operations in the Middle East, and the EUNAVFOR, also conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
EUNAVFOR responded first, re-tasking a German P3 Orion Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft which located the sinking ship and spotted eight people in the water without life jackets. New Zealand-led CTF-151 then assumed control of the search and rescue effort and began to coordinate support from the Yemen Rescue Coordination Centre, Turkish Frigate TCG Gemlik, Japanese warship JS Takanami, and Japanese P3 Orion Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft. After 30 hours, the eight men were finally rescued at 9 pm local time, November 20.
Commodore Tony Millar of the Royal New Zealand Navy and currently Commander of CTF 151, said: “I am delighted that the crew of MV Al Hasani were safely rescued from the sea. A massive vote of thanks goes to the units and nations who supported the search and rescue operation, however it was the Yemeni Rescue Coordination Centre who really stepped up to the plate on this one, arranging for local civilian craft to assist in the search, without whom the operation could have resulted in tragedy.”