UN peacekeepers rescue sailors from Lebanese ship in distress
Following an extensive search and rescue operation, peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today saved 14 sailors from a Lebanese ship in distress at sea.
Early this morning UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) received a distress signal from a Lebanese vessel at sea, the MV GEVO VICTORY, which had suffered several leaks, the mission said in a news release.
An MTF vessel assisted by a French Navy ship responded to the location about 80 kilometres south of Beirut port and launched a search and rescue operation with the help of helicopters.
After initial medical examination and treatment aboard the MTV ship, all 14 sailors were evacuated to Beirut and handed over to the Lebanese authorities.
Expressing relief at the safety of the ship’s crew, UNIFIL’s Force Commander Major General Claudio Graziano said “there cannot be a higher human endeavour than to save valuable lives.”
He commended the sailors who conducted the rescue operation in such rough weather conditions, noting that “we in UNIFIL share a special relationship with the people of Lebanon and that bond extends also at sea.”
Today’s rescue operation comes just one week after the MTF honed their skills with maritime exercises off the coast of southern Lebanon involving the amphibious landing of military personnel and equipment.
The MTF, operating off the coast of Lebanon in close cooperation with the Lebanese navy, is currently made up of 13 naval vessels from Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and Greece.