HMS Echo has been assigned to the Mediterranean since the end of 2016; her crew have rescued more than 6,100 men, women and children as part of the mercy element of the migrant mission, and destroyed 65 dangerous rubber boats and skiffs.
According to a release, Cypriot authorities were keen to see how they might respond to a sinking ship off their southern coastline and three casualties (aka dummies) in the water.
“The Cypriot Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre provided a patrol ship, Tomakis, a rescue helicopter and nurses, while Echo co-ordinated the efforts at sea, lapping up the rare opportunity to work with air power (the survey vessel has no helicopter, or even a flight deck, just a small area for winching people on and off).”
“It was great fun for us to be carrying out an aviation serial for exercise as opposed to the real life scenario executed not five weeks before,” said marine engineer officer Lt Dan Sercombe.
The Royal Navy say that Echo took charge of the surface search to find the dummies in the water; all three were found – good weather aided the hunt, but it still demanded some eagle eyes on the bridge wings – and winched up to the Cypriot helicopter so they could be flown ashore for treatment.
“Working with the Cypriot authorities is important for all the UK’s assets in the Mediterranean,” said Echo’s operations officer Lt Cdr Tom Becker.
“Given the high number of migrants still trying to cross into Europe, understanding one another’s rescue systems ensures we can operate in the joint environment more efficiently and share experiences.”