Royal Navy to the rescue

HMS St Albans has helped save the lives of two men trapped on a sinking vessel.

Whilst carrying out maritime security operations the Frigate was contacted by an Omani Air Force surveillance aircraft and asked to respond to a stricken dhow in the Gulf of Oman.

The aircraft had spotted that the vessel’s engine hatch was open and that something was clearly wrong.

St Albans changed course and headed straight towards the dhow finding that it had suffered engine failure and taking on a significant amount of water.

The ship immediately sent a team of marine engineers on board with portable pumps and tools to help the two Pakistani crew members stabilise the situation.

We are very grateful to the Royal Navy for assisting the vessel and for rescuing two Pakistani crew members.

Commodore Zahid Ilyas, Pakistani Commander of CTF 151

Unfortunately, after several hours of labour, it became apparent that the dhow’s engine was beyond repair and that the holes in the hull were too severe to tow the vessel without it sinking.

Having rescued two Pakistani crew members it was decided to scuttle the dhow in order to prevent it from becoming a danger to other ships in the area.

Petty Officer Bethany Burton was part of the Marine Engineering Team sent across to assist the stricken dhow.

She said: “Being the diesel section head on board, it was really good to use the diesel engine skills and knowledge that the RN taught me, and help out with the team and ensure a safe recovery of the two stranded sailors.”

Another member of the Marine Engineering team, Petty Officer Ryan Gooderham, added: “As an engineer our job is usually to keep ships afloat, but in this case we were asked to sink it as it was a navigational danger.

"This was hard work in cramped conditions and needed to be done quickly, and we were glad it was successful.”

Working closely with Pakistani led Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151) HMS St Albans transferred the two Pakistani sailors to Pakistan Maritime Security Authority (PMSA) who repatriated them back to their home nation.

The ‘Saint’, as HMS St Albans is affectionately known, then returned to the seas close to Oman to take part in a multinational maritime exercise.

Commodore Zahid Ilyas, the Pakistani Commander of CTF151, added: “We are very grateful to the Royal Navy for assisting the vessel and for rescuing two Pakistani crew members.

"Our thanks extend especially to the crew of HMS St Albans who responded in a quick and professional manner.”