On Saturday 8 September, Spanish warship ESPS Relámpago, currently operating as part of the EU Naval Force – Operation ATALANTA, fighting piracy off the Somali Coast, rescued 68 people after finding them adrift in a small boat in the middle of the Gulf of Aden.
The stricken vessel was first sighted from the air by a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft, and after hearing the report, ESPS Relampago, launched her helicopter to locate the boat, whilst the warship proceeded at best speed to provide humanitarian assistance.
On arrival at the scene, marine engineers from the Spanish warship boarded the boat and carried out an inspection of the vessel’s engine, which, due to it’s very poor condition, failed to start despite several attempts by the crew.
As the stricken vessel was 100 nautical miles from the Somali coast, the decision was taken to tow the vessel to safety to the port of Boosaaso, and at the same time much-needed food, water and medical assistance was provided.
After the rescue, which lasted over 24 hours, all of the 68 people were safely disembarked at Boosasso port, in north Somalia.
ESPS Relamgago has now continued her counter piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.