25 November 2018






2 mins

The French Navy rescued 12 Indian seafarers from the asphalt/bitumen tanker DURBAN QUEEN after the vessel ran into trouble and was sinking in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday 20th November.

According to France’s Marine Nationale, the French guided missile frigate FS CASSARD D 614 which was preparing for a Replenishment At Sea (RAS) with USNS KANAWHA T-AO-196 on Tuesday late morning picked up a distress call from the tanker DURBAN QUEEN located only 7 miles away from her position in the Persian Gulf.

Under the operational control of the commander of the Indian Ocean maritime zone, the frigate prepared the SAR and a Panther Helicopter from 36F Flotilla took off from her.  When the helicopter arrived the ship DURBAN QUEEN flying the flag of St. Christopher and Nevis capsized with her 12 Indian crew standing on the hull awaiting to be rescued. At 1232 hrs the Panther, with 4 crew onboard including a diver/rescuer started the rescue of which they transferred the first 4 to the nearest merchant ship.

It returned twice more to rescue the remaining eight crew members, including some with injuries, and carried them to the FS CASSARD  for treatment. All rescue operations were complete by 1340 hours, and all crew members were safely rescued from the water.

The eight survivors aboard the FS CASSARD  were later transferred to the cruise ship SEA PRINCESS. FS CASSARD D 614 later on refuelled and continued on to her original destination, Kuwait, where she is scheduled to join the Pearl of the West naval exercise.

The DURBAN QUEEN was a 1983 built asphalt/bitumen tanker flagged in St. Kitts and Nevis with her former name as KINKO MARU No 18 until September 2000. Her most recent Port State Control (PSC) inspection, which occurred in July in Bandar Abbas, Iran found nine deficiencies. These included issues with her main propulsion, auxiliary engines and ventilation system, among other problems.

Below images are of the United States Navy Military Sealift Command T-AO-196 USNS KANAWHA off Valletta, Malta back to 22nd September 2004 –




And the below of FS CASSARD D 614 entering Valletta, Malta back to 29th January, 2011 –




Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –



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