ESPS frigate Santa Maria joined Operation Atalanta last month. Her mission is to protect the World Food Programme vessels and to deter, prevent and repress piracy off the coast of Somalia. However, during the 3rd and 4th July, the ESPS Santa Maria, carrying on board the FHQ, conducted a different mission, but not less important.
On July 3, the vessel "Al-Thakhira", which was sailing in the IRTC (International Recommended Transit Corridor), through the Gulf of Aden reported a critical medical emergency on board: one of its crew members was having a stroke and required immediate medical assistance. After analyzing the situation, Spanish Rear Admiral Ignacio Villanueva, Commander of European Naval Force in Operation Atalanta, ordered the frigate Santa Maria to provide health care to the merchant vessel.
MV "Al-Thakhira", which was sailing in the IRTC, reported a critical medical emergency on board
The frigate was about 80 miles from the position of the ship, which had already set sail for Salalah, Oman being the closest port with a hospital to evacuate the crew member in need of medical assistance. When reaching the ship, the frigate sent a medical team aboard the merchant by boat. They found the patient in a coma, close to death, but managed to stabilize him. The distance to Oman was to great to conduct an air evacuation at the time. An aeromedical evacuation was discarded due to weather conditions.
Finally, the ship entered the port and the patient was transferred to the local medical services, returning the frigate's medical team on board by boat once the ship had left. Once again, EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta, has demonstrated their commitment to make the sea a safer place thanks to the intervention of Spanish frigate Santa Maria.