U.S. Naval Assets Conduct Search, Rescue Mission for Iranian Mariners
Navy News Service
Story Number: NNS120304-01
From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Coastal patrol craft USS Firebolt (PC 10) and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maui (WPB 1304), assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 55, conducted a search and rescue mission for survivors of a capsized Iranian cargo dhow in the north Arabian Gulf, March 3-4.
At approximately 11 a.m. local time, on March 3, Firebolt spotted a life raft, and launched their small boat to investigate.
One survivor from Iranian cargo dhow Abu Al Fazel was recovered by Firebolt and treated for shock and hypothermia. Through Firebolt's civilian translator, the surviving mariner relayed that at approximately 11 p.m., March 2, the dhow sank in bad weather with six mariners aboard. He confirmed that four were deceased and one missing.
Firebolt recovered the remains of three deceased Iranian mariners in and around the lifeboat and searched for the two missing crew members with other U.S. Navy and Coast Guard forces.
Commander, Task Force 152, located in Kuwait, contacted the Iranian Rescue Coordination Center to report the status of the Abu Al Fazel and coordinate the transfer of the Iranian mariners.
A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion, two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, and dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) were also on scene to assist in the search and rescue efforts for the two missing Iranian mariner.
The surviving Iranian mariner, three deceased mariners, and Firebolt's translator were transferred from Firebolt to Maui. Maui provided the surviving mariner with food, water and blankets.
At 6 p.m., approximately 19 hours after the dhow capsized, the search for the two missing Iranian mariners ended due to poor weather conditions. The 30 knot winds, 6-8 ft. waves and water temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit significantly limited the chance of survivability to only 10 hours in the water.
At 8 p.m., the Iranian mariner was transferred by rigid hull inflatable boat from Maui to the Iranian coast guard vessel Naji 7. Due to deteriorating weather, the deceased were not repatriated to Naji 7 until 1 p.m., March 4.
Firebolt and Maui departed the area to continue their mission.
Firebolt and Maui are assigned to Commander, Task Force 55, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
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