March 22, 2006
By Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs
ABOARD HNLMS DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN, At Sea (NNS) -- HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F 802), a destroyer from the Netherlands and the command ship of Combined Task Force 150, came to the aid of a vessel in distress and rescued 27 people off the coast of Yemen March 21 while conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the area.
While operating as a part of their MSO mission in the Gulf of Aden, De Zeven Provincien provided assistance to Motor Vessel Hyundai Fortune at approximately 11 a.m. local time.
Approximately 43 miles off the coast of Yemen, the cargo ship was in distress as the result of a large fire on board. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.
The De Zeven Provincien crew came to the aid of the cargo ship by rendering firefighting assistance, evacuating the burning ship's crew and offering humanitarian aid and medical care once on board.
The fire could not be contained, so the master of the cargo ship gave orders to evacuate the ship.
The De Zeven Provincien commanding officer Capt. Maarten Stenvert said his crew performed the rescue in a "superb manner."
"They were continuously aware what was going on and of the potential dangers that the Hyundai Fortune posed to them (explosion, falling containers, etc.)," said Stenvert.
The Hyundai Fortune's crew is comprised of 27 personnel. One crew member sustained non-life-threatening injuries and has been evacuated to the French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles De Gaulle (R 91) - which hosts the nearest surgical facility - by a Lynx helicopter from the French destroyer FS Montcalm (D 642) for further examination. CV Charles de Gaulle and FS Montcalm are part of coalition TF 473, which is led by French Rear Adm. Xavier Magne and is supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
The remaining 26 crew members evacuated from Hyundai Fortune will be transported to shore, according to Stenvert.
Stenvert credits the MSO mission for enabling coalition forces to rescue and provide humanitarian aide.
"Because of the active patrolling in the light of MSO," said Stenvert, "De Zeven Provincien was able to close the merchant vessel under distress with no time delay. Therefore, it was possible to render assistance immediately."
De Zeven Provincien is the CTF 150 command ship. Commodore Hank Ort of the Royal Netherlands Navy leads CTF 150. The coalition forces of CTF 150 conduct MSO in international waters of the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. Coalition forces have a longstanding tradition of helping mariners in distress providing medical assistance, engineering assistance, and search and rescue.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces acting under the direction of Vice Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.