On 8 March 2013, EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) flagship ESPS Méndez Núnez provided much-needed assistance to the crew of chemical tanker MV Royal Grace after the vessel was unexpectedly released by Somali pirates. The pirates had held the vessel after attacking it over a year earlier, on 2 March 2012 in the Gulf of Oman.
Early yesterday morning, ESPS Mendez Nunez was conducting counter-piracy patrols 20 nautical miles off the northern Somali coast, when she sighted MV Royal Grace sailing north from her pirate anchorage at a speed of 4 knots. Shortly afterwards, ESPS Méndez Núñez received a radio call from the master of MV Royal Grace, who confirmed that his ship was now free of pirates and that his 20-man crew were in need of food, water and medical assistance.
ESPS Méndez Núnez quickly sent her boarding and medical teams across to the Royal Grace, and after providing the crew with food and water, they were checked over, with two being given medical treatment.
MV Royal Grace is currently en route to Muscat under the watchful eye of another EU Naval Force warship, ESPS Rayo.
Speaking about the assistance given to MV Royal Grace, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, who is the operation commander of the EU Naval Force said “I am relieved that the crew of MV Royal Grace are now safe and on their way home. It has been an extremely worrying time for the men and their families.”