The medical team on board Operation Atalanta flagship, ESPS Galicia, regularly conduct medical exercises at sea to ensure that they remain fully prepared to deal with medical emergencies. The crew are able to carry out a range of medical procedures, from routine first aid to life-saving surgery.

During a recent patrol off the coast of Somalia, ESPS Galicia’s medical team and aircrew worked together to carry out a helicopter casualty evacuation exercise. To make the exercise as realistic as possible, a sailor from ESPS Galicia acted as an injured seafarer who needed to be airlifted via helicopter to the nearest regional health care facility in order to receive urgent medical attention.

After strapping the ‘casualty’ on to a stretcher on to ESPS Galicia’s flight deck, the medical team practiced transferring the casualty to the ship’s helicopter.

Since its launch in December 2008, EU NAVFOR has provided urgent medical assistance to a number of seafarers in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.