M/V Atlantic Confidence seen partially sunk off the coast of Oman on March 30, 2013. Photo: NATO Task Force

M/V Atlantic Confidence seen partially sunk off the coast of Oman on March 30, 2013. Photo: NATO Task Force

A U.S. warship conducting counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean with the NATO Task Force assisted in the rescue of 21 Turkish crewmembers of a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier after a fire forced them to abandon ship.

According to the NATO report, the bulk carrier M/V Atlantic Confidence reported a fire in the engine room while off the coast of Oman on March 30th and requested assistance. Soon, the Captain of the Atlantic Confidence ordered his crew to abandon ship in life rafts after determining the fire was out of control.

Photo: NATO Task Force

Photo: NATO Task Force

Upon receiving the call, the nearby USS Nicholas was ordered to provide assistance and dispatched a helicopter to locate the vessel about 80 miles away. Upon reaching the scene, the helicopter crew saw that the Atlantic Confidence was already partially sunk but that the survivors were safely in the life rafts.

After verifying that none of the crew members were in need of immediate medical assistance, the USS Nicholas coordinated the rescue with the oil tanker M/T Pluto, which was transiting in the area and also entirely manned by a Turkish crew.

“Once again we were able to provide timely assistance to a merchant vessel in trouble,” said Admiral Antonio Natale, Commander of the NATO Task Force. “NATO’s role here is to patrol these busy waters to counter the threat of Somali piracy, but aid in case of emergency is historically the first mission of every good sailor and we were more than happy to provide timely assistance.”

The Atlantic Confidence is part of Atlantic Shipping and Trading’s fleet. No word yet on the status of the vessel.

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