Over the course of a routine surveillance patrol as part of Operation 'African Deployment', offshore Patrol Vessel 'Vigía', received a distress call from a drifting vessel on August 28, while sailing on waters of Angola's Exclusive Economic Zone.
After evaluating the area of probability, since the vessel did not know its own position, the 'Vigia' started the search and successfully spotted it. The vessel had lost power and was unable to use its radio. once the vessel was identified, the Spanish vessel proceed to provide assistance. The small fishing vessel reported that it had been adrift for five days after losing thrust on Monday, August 23, over 70 miles off the coast of Angola, with five crew members on board and out of food and water.
The Spanish vessel sent its own qualified personnel to provide mechanical assistance to the fishing boat. After assessing the damage and verifying that it could not be fixed at sea, towing the drifting boat was considered the best option available.
To this end, the fishing boat's crew members were boarded the 'Vigía', where they recieved warm apparel, medical assistance, food and a rest area. Finally, preparations were made for the towing manoeuvre in order to preserve the integrity of the boat and take it to a safe place.
On the other hand, Vigia's crewmembers contacted Angola's Maritime Operations Centre, as well as military officials, in order to coordinate the transfer of the five fishermen and the damaged boat to Angolan territorial waters.
The towing operation lasted nineteen hours, and thanks to the coordination work with the different agencies and officals, the Spanish warship transferred the fishing boat and its personnel to a vessel from Luanda (Angola) at four o'clock in the morning on August 29th.