Guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) rendered assistance to a distressed Yemeni fishing dhow experiencing mechanical problems, May 19-21.
Aircrew members of an SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Taylor's embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 Detachment 9, observed the Yemeni fishing dhow Nahda, approximately 190 nautical miles southwest of Salalah, Oman.
"We descended down to check the dhow and noticed there were a few people on deck. They began to wave their arms above their heads very similar to the international sign of distress," Lt. Jason Elfe, HSL-48 Det. 9 pilot. "These actions were not typical, based on previous encounters, and I had already noticed the vessel was not moving. Putting the two together, I realized that the vessel was in distress."
Taylor deployed a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) with members of its visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team, to assess the condition of the dhow and its nine mariners.
The dhow's master reported engine and mechanical problems as the vessel sailed from Socotra Island to Shihir, Yemen. Two enginemen assigned to Taylor, confirmed the engine was inoperable.
Taylor immediately coordinated with the Yemeni Coast Guard to provide assistance with dhow.
Due to the lack of propulsion and the dhow's location within the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), Taylor remained overnight in close proximity to the dhow to ensure the safety of the crew. The VBSS team provided Nahda's crew with food and water; and medical personnel assessed the mariners to be in good health.
Taylor towed Nahda toward Yemeni territorial waters May 20 because without any propulsion capability the dhow poses a hazard to navigation and unsafe to remain at sea.
Taylor rendezvoused with a Yemeni Coast Guard rescue vessel to further support Nahda's crew, May 21. Taylor departed the scene and continued its mission.
"The event was successful due to the combined effort of the VBSS team, the engineers, boatswain's mates, and qualified officers of the deck," said Lt. Michael Modeer, Taylor's navigator and VBSS boarding officer. "The team was able to safely prepare Nahda for tow and provide assistance to its crew during the transit."
Taylor is assigned to commander, NATO Task Force 508 supporting Operation Ocean Shield, maritime interception operations and counter-piracy in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Article by Lt j.g. Jennifer Gabriel, USS Taylor Public Affairs