MANILA, Philippines – An Australian submarine was left with no choice but to break the surface of waters off Samar on Sunday after one of its sailors fell ill with appendicitis.
According to Armed Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Cdr. Jim Alagao, the submarine surfaced approximately three nautical miles off Marabut town to unload its patient.
The submarine’s point of origin was not immediately disclosed.
“Basically, the sub was in transit when they requested the medical evacuation. They were in international waters,” Navy public affairs Chief Cdr. Gregory Fabic said, reporting that the Australian armed forces attaché called them on Sunday requesting for a medical evacuation.
A Philippine Navy ship met with the Australian submarine Sunday to evacuate the ailing sailor, and transport him to the Tacloban Doctors Hospital for immediate attention.
The patient was later moved to Manila for further treatment.
“He is now in stable condition. We provided medical evacuation since it was humanitarian, emergency in nature,” Fabic added.
Defense department spokesman Peter Galvez said that the submarine did not commit territorial incursion as it was sailing in international waters before calling for help.
Galvez also emphasized that the incident demonstrates the need to improve interoperability among the navies in the region.
“We saw the importance of our relationship with our allies. It is really important to strengthen our interoperability,” he said.
“The Philippines is ready to extend similar assistance to its allies whenever necessary,” Galvez added.