HMAS Parramatta’s Christmas mercy dash
28 December 2011
HMAS Parramatta has provided essential life saving assistance to an Iranian flagged vessel in distress on Christmas Eve. Parramatta is on patrol in the Gulf of Aden conducting the Australian Operation Slipper rotation 27 under tasking to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150).
On 23 December, HMAS Parramatta received the call from a vessel 400 nautical miles off the Eastern coast of Yemen that was stopped in the water and indicating distress. Parramatta immediately increased speed and sailed to the vessel’s aid over the next 24 hours. After the ship’s helicopter and coalition aircraft located the vessel on the morning of 24 December, Parramatta closed in to assess the situation.
“The vessel’s crew were waving to the helicopter and to us and had an orange flag flying at the front of the vessel,” said Commander of HMAS Parramatta, Guy Blackburn.
“These are all recognised international signals of distress and we immediately knew that something must be wrong”.
“The vessel’s Master waved at us and asked us to come onboard to help them. It is a time honoured mariner’s tradition to help those in need on the sea,” Commander Blackburn said.
After receiving assistance from HMAS Parramatta, the vessel was able to make its own way into port. Parramatta transferred more than 700 litres of fuel, life saving water and food to the vessel and its crew, making it safe to proceed to the nearest port.
HMAS Parramatta is deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper, Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the MEAO and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
HMAS Parramatta was participating in routine duties with CTF 150, one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF is responsible for maritime security operations in the Gulf region, the maritime environment around the Horn of Africa, and counter piracy/terrorism operations in the Gulf of Aden. HMAS Parramatta and her crew of more than 190 personnel remain on patrol and on watch over the Christmas period having been deployed from their homeport since 26 September 2011.
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