Thursday, December 14, 2017

U.S. ship rescues Iranians at sea — again

In the second sea rescue in less than a week, a vessel on patrol with the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet near the Persian Gulf saved a group of distressed Iranian mariners on Tuesday, pulling them to safety from a cargo dhow that was foundering with a flooded engine room, the naval central command reported.

In a statement, the command said the Coast Guard patrol boat Monomoy, on assignment with a 5th Fleet task force in the northern Arabian Gulf, approached the stricken Iranian dhow, the Ya-Hussayn, after the dhow's crew hailed the Monomoy with flares and flashlights before dawn.

The six Iranian crew members — two aboard the Ya-Hussayn and four on a life raft tied to its stern — were transferred to the Monomoy, the statement said. They were later transferred by inflatable boats to the Naji 7, an Iranian coast guard vessel.

The statement quoted the owner of the dhow, Hakim Hamid-Awi, as thanking the Monomoy crew and saying, "Without your help, we were dead."

The rescue followed a dramatic 5th Fleet action last week in the Gulf of Oman, 210 miles off Iran's coast. Sailors on a naval task force led by the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, which had just left the Persian Gulf, freed 13 Iranians held captive by Somali pirates.

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