NATO warship renders assistance to stricken dhow
Over the weekend, the Italian warship ITS Grecale, part of the NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force Operation Ocean Shield, was tasked by NATO Task Force Commander to render assistance to the Iranian flagged dhow, Tahriri, which had reported an engine failure and was dead in the water. The dhow, with 5 Iranian and 9 Pakistani crew members, had recently been released from suspected Somali pirates by another NATO Task Force unit, the Danish navy vessel HDMS Absalon, on 7th January.
On reaching the dhow, the Italian warship ITS Grecale gave the crew food and water. Then a dedicated technical team worked through the night to fix the mechanical engine failure. Despite their best efforts, the Italian warship team assessed that the engine was too badly damaged to repair at sea.
NATO offered to transfer the crew to the closest port, but they chose to stay with their vessel. Tahriri’s crew said that after having assistance they felt safer and preferred to coordinate with their national authorities for further assistance. They expressed their appreciation for the assistance of the NATO warship.
The Italian warship ITS Grecale is remaining in the area to monitor the situation, ready to provide further assistance if required.
NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.
Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is permanently assigned to NATO. It is a multi-national Naval Group that provides the NATO Alliance with the ability to respond quickly to crisis situations anywhere in the world. It is a capable, stand-alone task group and one of four Standing Maritime Elements that form a flexible core around which NATO can build a larger force to meet a wide range of missions. These include non-combatant evacuations, consequence management, counter terrorism, crisis response and embargo operations. Its command rotates amongst the contributing nations and SNMG 2 is currently commanded by Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy.
NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:
TCG GIRESUN – Turkey (flagship)
HDMS ABSALON – Denmark
ITS GRECALE – Italy
RFA FORT VICTORIA – United Kingdom
USS DEWERT - United States of America
USS CARNEY - United States of America
Challenger 640 Aircraft - Denmark
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