Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A merchant mariner who fell overboard was rescued by coalition naval assets operating as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 in the Central Arabian Gulf. USS Benfold (DDG 65) received a distress call and reported it to CTF 152, which coordinated the rescue efforts from its operations headquarters in Bahrain. Benfold arrived on station and assumed duties as the on-scene commander, directing the Lynx helicopter embarked aboard HMS Kent (F 78), a Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, to search for the missing mariner. Kent received information that the man had fallen overboard while conducting routine Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Arabian Gulf more than 150 miles north of where the incident occurred, . Kent's helicopter was launched at first-light this morning to conduct search and rescue efforts. The search lasted an hour before the missing mariner was spotted.
USS Benfold (DDG 65)"Safety of life at sea is something close to every mariner's heart," said Cmdr. Simon Hopper, Kent's commanding officer. "As Sailors, we hope that we will never be a position to need assistance. I'm delighted that Kent was able to respond to the distress of another mariner and save a life." The helicopter spotted the mariner who had been adrift in the water for approximately six hours and rescued him. He was then flown aboard Benfold (DDG 65) where he was medically evaluated and deemed fit for duty. The man was then returned to M/V Peter Paul. "We train for incidents such as this all the time," said Air Engineering Technician Mike Purcell. "Saving the life of another Sailor and highlighting the importance of being able to respond to such incidents at the drop of a hat, shows how important this training really is." Benfold and Kent are deployed to the Combined Maritime Forces area of responsibility to conduct MSO, which complements the security activities of Gulf Cooperation Council nations.