U.S. Forces Rescue Second Iranian Vessel

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2012 — For the sec­ond time in a week, a U.S. ves­sel has res­cued Iran­ian mariners from a dis­tressed ves­sel in region­al waters.

A team from the guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er USS Kidd, part of the USS John C. Sten­nis Car­ri­er Strike Group, res­cued a 13-mem­ber Iran­ian crew Jan. 5 from 15 sus­pect­ed pirates who had been hold­ing the crew hostage on the Iran­ian-flagged Al Molai for sev­er­al weeks.

Sev­er­al hours before dawn this morn­ing, U.S. Coast Guard cut­ter Monomoy res­cued six Iran­ian mariners from the dis­abled car­go dhow Ya-Hus­sayn in the North Ara­bi­an Gulf, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said today.

“This is con­sis­tent with meet­ing our oblig­a­tions to res­cue ves­sels in dis­tress,” he added.

Monomoy is sup­port­ing mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions and the­ater secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, which includes the Per­sian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Ara­bi­an Sea and the coast off East Africa as far south as Kenya.

At about 3 a.m. local time, Coast Guard cut­ter Monomoy was hailed by flares and flash­lights from the Ya-Hus­sayn, accord­ing to a U.S. Naval Forces Cen­tral Com­mand statement.

The dhow’s mas­ter request­ed assis­tance from Monomoy, indi­cat­ing the engine room was flood­ing and the ves­sel was not sea­wor­thy. The Monomoy’s small boat res­cued two peo­ple from the ves­sel and four from a life raft tied off the dhow’s stern, offi­cials said.

Aboard the Monomoy, an emer­gency med­ical tech­ni­cian treat­ed an injured crew mem­ber, and the oth­ers received water, blan­kets and halal meals, which are pre­pared accord­ing to Islam­ic law and stored aboard U.S. Coast Guard ships for Mus­lim mariners in distress.

A civil­ian inter­preter aboard Monomoy made ini­tial con­tact with the Iran­ian Res­cue Coor­di­na­tion Cen­ter to report Ya-Hussayn’s sta­tus and to coor­di­nate the Iran­ian mariners’ trans­fer from Monomoy to shore. Civil­ian inter­preters rou­tine­ly trav­el on U.S. Coast Guard ves­sels oper­at­ing in the Ara­bi­an Gulf.

The Iran­ian vessel’s mas­ter told the Res­cue Coor­di­na­tion Cen­ter he appre­ci­at­ed the help for his crew and the efforts to get them home. “With­out your help, we were dead,” said Ya-Hussayn’s own­er, Hakim Hamid-Awi. “Thank you for all that you did for us.”

The Iran­ian mariners wished the best for the cutter’s cap­tain and crew, offi­cials said.

At 4:30 p.m. local time, the six mariners were trans­ferred by rigid-hull inflat­able boats from Monomoy to the Iran­ian coast guard ves­sel Naji 7. Through a trans­la­tor, the Naji 7’s cap­tain sent his regards and thanked the Monomoy’s cap­tain and crew mem­bers for assist­ing and tak­ing care of the Iran­ian sailors.

“Monomoy dis­played excep­tion­al skill and pro­fes­sion­al­ism dur­ing the night-time res­cue at sea,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Edward Cash­man, com­man­der of Task Force 55, to which the Monomoy is assigned. “Monomoy’s pres­ence in the North­ern Gulf and the effec­tive coor­di­na­tion of the res­cue proves again the val­ue of Coali­tion Mar­itime Secu­ri­ty Operations.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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