Our sea boat escorted the fishermen throughout the night until a positive handover was made with Algerian authorities. We wish our fellow mariners well

Lieutenant Commander Ben Dorrington, operations officer HMS Duncan

Eagle-eyed Royal Navy sailors save fishermen stranded at sea for daysMedical assistant Rhiann Dilmore said the two men in the boat were in a bad way. She said, "They had been eating raw fish and were drinking sea water. We patched them up and gave them hot drinks and halal food and made sure they were warm and reassured. Their engine had run out of fuel so we got it going."

Petty Officer Daniel Law, who normally looks after Duncan's diesel engines added: "They had been adrift for nearly five days. I filled the tank and primed the engine and she started first time. We all just smiled. I cannot speak Arabic and they had no English but the smiles said it all. It was really humbling to see the look of gratitude by those we had rescued."

Duncan's assistance did not end there. She accompanied the small boat for several miles until an Algerian Coast Guard vessel arrived to take over the rescue effort.

"Being adrift in an open boat at night must have been petrifying. We quickly made contact with the Algerian Coast guard and arranged for a suitable rendezvous for the early hours of the morning," said operations officer Lieutenant Commander Ben Dorrington.

"Our sea boat escorted the fishermen throughout the night until a positive handover was made with Algerian authorities. We wish our fellow mariners well."

Everyone aboard is convinced without the destroyer's intervention, the fate of the two men would have been bleak.

"The efforts of the crew were heart-warming," said Lieutenant Commander Florentine Dhellemmes, a French exchange officer aboard HMS Duncan. "The fishermen would have had no chance without rescue. A good night's work."

HMNB Portsmouth

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Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering)

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