Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 02, 2006 18:14 ET

DND: Canadian Rescue in the Persian Gulf

PERSIAN GULF--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 2, 2006) - Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa was involved in the dramatic rescue of 18 Indian sailors from their sinking boat in the Persian Gulf on Friday, December 1st. At approximately 9:45 p.m. local time, HMCS Ottawa received a distress call sent out from an Indian dhow, a small transport vessel commonly found in the area. When the patrol frigate arrived on the scene, the dhow was in imminent danger of sinking and had already taken on almost 1.6 metres of water with levels still rising. The boat had also lost all electrical power and was adrift in the dark.

Despite the best efforts of both crews, the flooding could not be stopped and the decision was made to abandon the boat. All 18 crew were safely transported to Ottawa, however the dhow sank a short while later. Onboard HMCS Ottawa, the sailors were provided with warm blankets, food and beverages, and medical attention. Ottawa then proceeded in the vicinity of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, where the rescued crew was transferred ashore for repatriation to India. The dhow began its fateful voyage in Sharjah, India and had been enroute to Somalia. The cause of the flooding is unknown at this time.

HMCS Ottawa is currently serving on Operation ALTAIR, the Canadian maritime contribution to the international campaign against terrorism. The West Coast-based patrol frigate departed Canada on Sept. 10 and is scheduled to return in mid-March. This is Canada's 20th naval deployment in support of the campaign against the threat of terrorism

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