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Kearsarge Assists Iranian Fishing Vessel

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050624-09
Release Date: 6/24/2005 11:34:00 AM

From USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- While conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) provided assistance to a stranded Iranian-flagged fishing dhow June 21.

At approximately 6:14 p.m., during routine flight operations, an MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Det. 2, was directed to the location of the dhow by U.S. 5th Fleet, who was notified of the distressed vessel by the merchant vessel Pomeroy.

The helicopter crew discovered the dhow displaying both an Iranian flag and white flag. The helicopter crew reported there were nine people on deck, the vessel was pumping water over the side and there was also water beneath its decks. The crew signaled to the helicopter crew that something was broken below deck.

Through the assistance of a Kearsarge crew member fluent in Farsi, Kearsarge established contact with the dhow via bridge-to-bridge radio. Kearsarge learned that the stranded vessel had a broken engine, was adrift for several hours and that the crew was hungry.

Kearsarge launched its Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) and provided its crew with food and some gasoline. The crew requested no additional assistance.

“This was a great example of cooperation between mariners at sea and the coalition naval forces operating in the Arabian Gulf,” said Capt. Edward Barfield, commander, Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group. “Maritime Security Operations are more than just preventing drug trafficking. While working together with our coalition partners to provide a safe environment at sea, we are also making the connections that allow us to help each other in other mission areas.”

Coalition forces have a longstanding tradition of helping mariners in distress providing medical assistance, engineering assistance, and search and rescue.

MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.


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