ISMERLO? What's An "ISMERLO"?
Why, it's the International SubMarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office, located in Norfolk. Here's a good article on what happened at the watch desk this weekend; looks like they were plenty busy. (Coordination is done through this NIPR site; you need to have a password to really get very deep into it, though... and don't bother trying to register through this page, 'cause it won't work.)
“One of the Norwegian guys who had the watch activated an alert on the ISMERLO, which put into effect the process of getting things rolling,”...
"It is the international hub for information and coordination on submarine rescue. When a submarine runs into trouble, the Norfolk rescue operation can post the word quickly on the Internet, find a system capable of rescuing the submarine and coordinate a rescue effort, according to Navy officials.
“It was quickly joined by a lot of the countries – Japan, Italy, France, the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and many others,” Orr said. “So very quickly you had a synergy of experts from around the world looking at this problem and the best possible options to have the outcome we ended up having.”
"The Norfolk rescue operation had tested itself in mock rescue drills off the coast of Italy as late as June, with Russia taking part. It also has held several joint conferences with the three dozen participants, including 14 that are non-NATO, but had never been asked until now to coordinate an actual submarine rescue response."
The article goes on to say that Sweden and France, among others, had offered help, and a Shell Oil tanker had changed course to render assistance if needed. It sounds like the recent experience gained during the Sorbet Royal 2005 exercise really paid off.
Also on the ISMERLO web site is a good overview of submarine rescue capabilities of many countries.