x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Abdullah tours Italian aircraft carrier that saved fisherman’s life

The UAE minister of foreign affairs, Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed has been given a guided tour of Italian aircraft carrier, the Cavour, which is docked in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is shown around the Italian aircraft carrier, The Cavour, yesterday by Giorgio Starace, right, the Italian ambassador to the UAE, and Admiral Paolo Treu, the commander of the Italian naval group, while it is docked in Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is shown around the Italian aircraft carrier, The Cavour, yesterday by Giorgio Starace, right, the Italian ambassador to the UAE, and Admiral Paolo Treu, the commander of the Italian naval group, while it is docked in Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // An Indian fisherman’s life was saved thanks to the quick response of the crew on an Italian aircraft carrier bound for the UAE.

The Cavour, the latest aircraft carrier to be added to the Italian navy fleet, received a distress call from the fishing boat, which was travelling off the Omani coast on November 27.

A helicopter from the nearby ship scrambled to the scene and a medical team was winched down to assist the boat’s captain, who was suffering from heart problems.

Medics assessed his condition and he was taken to a hospital in Al Salalah, about 120km from the location of the incident.

He is now making a full recovery.

“We were very happy we could save a life,” said Admiral Paolo Treu, commander of the 30th Navy Group of the Italian navy.

“We have a very complex mission and have put many tasks together. We are here to use training areas in the region, to train and build cooperation in anti-piracy operations, to built relations and carry out humanitarian operations,” Admiral Treu said.

The aircraft carrier is now docked in Mina Zayed, where a number of Italian companies are hosting an exhibition, looking to boost trade between Italy and the UAE.

On Tuesday, The Cavour was visited by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“The visit of Sheikh Abdullah is a great opportunity to show him what Italy can do,” the admiral said.

‘When you see a ship like this you realise we have a lot of industrial capabilities. In this ship there is the genius and excellence of Italian industry. We are very proud he is visiting the ship. It is a sign of cooperation between the UAE and Italy.”

Sheikh Abdullah was given a guided tour of the vessel and spent time talking to a number of the Italian companies present, as well as being taken to the flight deck, where the ship’s aircrafts are located.

“We are very happy to welcome the Italians to the UAE and to see the crown jewel of its navy,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

“This is a boost for the continued relationship between our two countries and I am delighted they are here. I hope we can continue to build on this relationship for the benefit of both the UAE and Italy.”

“We have a very close relationship with the UAE,” said Giorgio Starace, ambassador of Italy to the UAE.

“I am very pleased, it means that relations are very mature and they are going in the direction of a strong, solid, strategic partnership. The UAE is the partner of Italy in the Arabian Gulf.

“We have many plans in mind for further partnership between the UAE and Italy. I hope we can also shape a relationship between Milan Expo 2015 and Dubai Expo 2020. We backed Dubai to win and, as the votes have shown, we were right in our choice,” the ambassador said.

The Cavour is part of a fleet of four ships that have been touring ports worldwide throughout the year.

Built by Italian manufacture Fincantieri, it is almost 250 metres long and weighs more than 27,000 tonnes.

It can accommodate 1,200 crew and passengers and can launch helicopters and vertical-take-off fighter jets.

Following its visit to the UAE, the ship will be touring Africa to carry out various humanitarian missions.

ksinclair@thenational.ae