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Royal Navy footage reveals Lowestoft seaman's role in Algerian fishermen rescue

PUBLISHED: 16:42 10 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:52 11 June 2018

Leading Seaman Richard Rafferty who is celebrating 1000 days at sea. He was part of a rescue team that saved two Algerian fisherman Photo: L(Phot) Paul Hall

Leading Seaman Richard Rafferty who is celebrating 1000 days at sea. He was part of a rescue team that saved two Algerian fisherman Photo: L(Phot) Paul Hall

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A Lowestoft seaman was part of a rescue team that plucked to safety two Algerian fishermen stranded at sea for nearly five days with no supplies and little hope.

Leading Seaman Richard Rafferty, 28, and formerly of Benjamin Britten School, was serving aboard the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan when the tiny vessel was spotted bobbing on the waves in the western Mediterranean.

The destroyer immediately offered food, fuel and life-saving assistance, LS Rafferty helping with the effort to start the fishermen’s outboard, 70 miles north of Algeria and outside any shipping lanes.

Medical assistant Rhiann Dilmore said the two men in the boat were “in a bad way.

They had been eating raw fish and were drinking sea water.

“We patched them up and gave them hot drinks and halal food and made sure that they were warm and reassured. Their engine had run out of fuel so we got it going,” she added.

Details of his gallantry emerged as he reached a major milestone in his career - spending 1000 days at sea.

Of the milestone which means he has spent almost three years on the workplace waves in an eight year career LS Rafferty said: “It sounds like a long time but it has flown by, and I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute. I’ve worked on so many different platforms; aircraft carriers, frigates, mine countermeasure vessels and now a destroyer.

“No ship or task is ever the same; I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away for so long.”

He is currently employed as HMS Duncan’s tactical communications supervisor with responsibility for co-ordinating all interactions between the various ships in the NATO task group.

He added: “I’ve been on HMS Duncan for about a year now. It’s a great ship and I really relish the opportunities I get. I have so much responsibility onboard, much more than I expected I would have at my rank.

“Recently I’ve been planning and delivering major exercises between ships from multiple different nations – it’s challenging but I absolutely love it.

“Being away from home is never easy; I miss my family and my fiancé, Katie, but I’m really proud to serve my country. There’s never a dull day, and everyone onboard is great – it’s like a home away from home.”

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