Friday, March 16, 2007
Sailors aboard a Westcountry-based warship have saved the lives of the crew of a vessel which had started to sink off the coast of Greece. The helicopter on HMS Monmouth, based at Devonport, Plymouth, was used to rescue the crew of Afrodite S, a cargo vessel registered in St Vincent and Grenadines, from the Mediterranean. The Afrodite S was transporting a cargo of bulk cement which suddenly shifted. The ship started to take on water. HMS Monmouth's Merlin helicopter airlifted the 11 Romanian crew to safety. A Greek rescue helicopter also helped to transport the crew to the mainland. HMS Monmouth's Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Peacock, said: "Saving a fellow sailor is one of the fundamental laws of the sea and I am immensely proud of the way my sailors have performed in rendering assistance to the Afrodite S.
The Afrodite S was taking in water after its cargo shifted"Their actions are in the finest traditions of the Royal Navy and demonstrate the diverse roles Monmouth is able to perform. "We are delighted to have been able to offer our assistance along with our allies from Greece in this dangerous operation. It was apparent to all that Afrodite S was in distress, in worsening weather and sea state conditions and we have done all that we possibly can to help." The Type 23 frigate is on patrol as part of Operation Active Endeavour in the Eastern Mediterranean. She sailed from Plymouth on February 26 for the start of a nine-month deployment heading for the Far East. The ship will be taking part in various operations and carrying out maritime security on her way as well as assisting several nations in developing their own coastal defence forces. HMS Monmouth has recently finished training under the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation at Devonport to complete her preparations. This training followed a prolonged maintenance and enhancement work at the naval base. Although the deployment remains liable to change, it is hoped that planned visits to Singapore and Australia will allow the opportunity for families to fly out and meet their loved ones. HMS Monmouth is due to return to the UK in November.