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French, U.S. Ships Assist Merchant Vessel in Arabian Sea

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070626-08
Release Date: 6/26/2007 11:20:00 AM


From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- French Ship Dupleix (D 641) and USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) responded to a distress call from a North Korean-flagged merchant vessel at approximately 6:26 pm local time in the Arabian Sea June 25.

The vessel reported that it was anchored with a weak mooring line, disabled diesel engine, no food or water, and was in danger of sinking. The sea conditions were unstable, with waves eight to 12 feet high.

Unable to locate nearby assistance, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 directed a rendezvous with the distressed vessel to take its crew of 13 Indians, two Burmese and one Sri Lankan on board.

The vessel reported it was unable to evacuate its crew with its own lifeboats, prompting Dupleix and Kanawha to use their rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB).

At approximately 9:35 pm, Dupleix and Kanawha launched RHIBs and evacuated all 16 crew members safely. The crew members were transferred to authorities in Salalah, Oman.

“Considering the weather conditions in the area, Kanawha and Dupleix undertook a tough nighttime rescue operation, which tested the limits of the RHIB,” said Rene-Jean Crignola, Dupleix commanding officer. “The prompt assistance of Kanawha successfully allowed us to expedite the rescue and get all crew members transferred safely within 50 minutes.”

CTF 150, commanded by French Rear Adm. Alain Hinden, is responsible for maritime operations in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the North Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

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