Aussie submarine surfaces off Samar

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 12 2014 04:15 AM | Updated as of Jun 12 2014 12:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - An Australian submarine was forced to surface in waters off Samar on Sunday after one of its sailors suffered appendicitis.

Armed Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Cdr. Jim Alagao said the submarine surfaced about three nautical miles off Marabut town.

The Australian sub unloaded a patient, who was not identified. Information about the submarine’s origin was not immediately available.

Navy public affairs chief Cdr. Gregory Fabic said the Australian armed forces attaché called them on Sunday requesting for a medical evacuation.

“Basically, the sub was in transit when they requested the medical evacuation. They were in international waters,” Fabic said.

A Philippine Navy ship met with the Australian submarine Sunday to evacuate the ailing sailor.

The patient was brought to the Tacloban Doctors Hospital and later moved to Manila for further treatment.

“He is now in stable condition,” Fabic added.

“We provided medical evacuation since it was humanitarian, emergency in nature.”

Defense department spokesman Peter Galvez said the submarine did not commit territorial incursion since it was sailing in international waters before it sought help.

Galvez though stressed the incident highlights 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 said.