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American Forces Press Service

U.S. Forces Rescue Second Iranian Vessel

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

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."

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