HMDS MAKRELEN, Ebeltoft — Danish Minehunter HMDS Makrelen was diverted from the major NATO exercise "Brilliant Mariner 2010" the night of 13 April, to rescue two adults and one teenage girl from the sinking cutter Kristine.
Danish navy command operations room received a call just before midnight from the Danish police reporting a report that the vessel Kristine was taking on water and had no power or propulsion to pump the water out. The boat was sinking near Hjelm Dyb in the Kattegat close to Ebeltoft. The owner requested emergency services from his mobile phone. The command centre launched a search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter and diverted the minehunter from the exercise to help search for the vessel and crew.
"We found the location of the vessel by using flares to illuminate the area and our Infra Red equipment to locate the faint signature of the vessel but due to the dark conditions we called the worried owner of the Kristine on his mobile phone to guide us to his location," said Danish navy Lt. Cmdr. Mette Stab-Nielsen, a mine warfare officer aboard HMDS Makrelen. "The wind and sea conditions were fair but the water was very cold. It would not have been safe to be in the water for very long in those conditions. They were very happy to be rescued from the Kristine. Once we had got them safely on board Makrelen our sailors brought pumping equipment and stabilised the vessel ready for towing to port. The Danish ship Freya provided the tow for the Kristine while we returned the relieved owners unharmed to the shore at Ebeltoft very early this morning."
It is understood the Kristine was in 20 metres of water and that the owners had only recently taken ownership of the vessel.
Danish navy Lt Cmdr. Stab-Nielsen added that the NATO ship was very pleased to be able to help in this incident:
"It is a job we are here to do – although it stopped us for mine-hunting on the Exercise for an hour or so, we gain valuable training from real world incidents," said Stab-Nielson. "We are always on duty for these SAR incidents"
Danish vessels were taking part in the International NATO Exercise Brilliant Mariner 2010 as part of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1 comprising 13 international navy ships undergoing tasks such as mine hunting, ordnance clearing and maritime security operations in support of the objectives of Brilliant Mariner. The group of mine hunter ships will be visiting Aalborg, Denmark, from 23 April to 26 April 2010 and some of the ships will be open to the public 1- 7 p.m. on 24 April.