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Twelve shipwrecked Indians were on Tuesday rescued by a French Navy Cassard-class anti-aircraft frigate, part of Task Force (TF) 55 in the Persian Gulf. This is the Cassard’s second rescue mission in less than seven days in the Indian Ocean maritime zone. The frigate, which was on a patrolling mission and was preparing for replenishment at sea (RAS) with the USS Kanawha, intercepted a distress signal from a nearby vessel, the Durban Queen.

The sender indicated that his ship was sinking. The listing ship was soon spotted at seven nautical miles. Under the operational control of the French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN), the Cassard-class frigate dispatched its aircraft, a Panther from the 36F Flotilla, which had just landed on the helipad after finishing a maritime surveillance sortie.

When the helicopter reached the spot, the vessel, bearing a Saint Kitts and Nevis flag, had capsized minutes ago, forcing its Indian crew to cling to the overturned hull and gradually started sinking.

Early afternoon the Panther with 2 pilots, a diver and a heli-hoisting operator began lifting the shipwrecked crew. In the first run, four sailors were transported to the nearest vessel, a merchant ship. In the second and the third runs, four people, including the injured, were brought aboard the Cassard and attended to by its medical team.

In two hours the heli-hoisting operations ended. The shipwrecked, evacuated despite some minor injuries, are safe and in good health. The eight crew members, assisted by the Cassard, were sent to the Sea Princess, a cruise ship.

Later the Cassard was refuelled (RAS) and continued its way towards Kuwait, where it will participate in the bilateral exercise, “Pearl of the West”.
ALINDIEN controls the French forces present in its zone of permanent responsibility, which comprises 14 countries for the terrestrial part, and from the South of the Suez Canal to the western limits of the waters of Myanmar, Indonesia and Australia for the maritime part (CZM).

Source: financial