A French warship en route to Kuwait to participate in a military exercise came to the aid of an asphalt-bitumen tanker that was taking on water in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, November 20.
The frigate Cassard was preparing for an underway refueling when it received a distress call from the Panama-flagged Durban Queen just seven nautical miles away.
Cassard immediately deployed its Panther helicopter to Durban Queen, the aircraft arriving on scene just as the tanker capsized and sank.
The helicopter started airlifting all 12 of the tanker’s crew out of the water at around 12:30. The first four survivors to be evacuated were brought to a nearby merchant vessel.
The helicopter returned twice more to the scene, evacuated the remaining eight crewmembers, and brought them to Cassard where they were given medical attention. The last survivor was airlifted out of the water by 13:40.
The survivors that were brought on board Cassard were later transferred to the cruise ship Sea Princess, which will then bring them to shore.
The frigate resumed its voyage to its original destination following the transfer of survivors. It is scheduled to participate in the Pearl of the West Franco-Kuwaiti joint naval exercise.
The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!