November 7 off Benin
On November 7, in the evening, the Federico Martinengo rescued the Singaporian freighter Torm Alexandra. It was attacked by pirates in international waters off the coast of Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea. The operation initially involved an NH90 NFH helicopter which put the pirate boat on the run in close coordination with the neighboring countries’ navies.
The Italian frigate therefore closed in with the merchant ship to assist the crew still locked up in the designated protected area. Subsequently, using the helicopter, a team from the BMSM was sent on board to check that there were no more pirates and armed personnel, checking the merchant ship from the command bridge to the engine room and securing all the premises.
At 2030 Italian time, the BMSM inspection team declared the freighter out of danger and returned it to the crew who were able to resume navigation and continue to its destination.
November 14 off Sao Tome
The same frigate has been the protagonist of a similar episode a few days later, confirming how a dangerous maritime area the Gulf of Guinea has become. On November 14, the Italian Navy intervened to rescue the merchant ship Zhen Hua 7 (with crew members of Chinese nationality and flying the Liberian flag) which suffered another pirates attack.
Having closed in and established communications, the Federico Martinengo got the confirmation of the escape of the pirates from the crew of the merchant vessel. They requested medical support in favor of a sailor who suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. The BMSM was deployed to inspect the merchant ship and allow a medical team to intervene in complete safety.
The injured sailor was stabilized by the frigates’ medical personnel. It was found necessary to transfer him by helicopter to a hospital in the nearby town of Sao Tome in order to provide him with appropriate care.