For the second time in less than a week, a U.S. vessel has rescued distressed Iranian mariners while in regional waters, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today that several hours before dawn Tuesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Monomoy rescued six Iranian mariners from a disabled cargo dhow, the Ya-Hussayn, in the North Arabian Gulf.
Monomoy is supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility that includes the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the coast off East Africa as far south as Kenya.
According to the statement, the Coast Guard cutter was hailed by flares and flashlights coming from the Ya-Hussayn at about 3 a.m. local time. The dhow’s master indicated the engine room was flooding and the vessel was not seaworthy. A small boat was launched from the Monomoy and was able to rescue two people from the dhow and four from a life raft tied off the vessels stern, officials said.
Once aboard the Monomoy, the mariners were provided with food and water, and one was also treated for injuries.
“Without your help, we were dead,” said Ya-Hussayn’s Master, Hakim Hamid-Awi. “Thank you for all that you did for us.”
On January 5th, a team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd rescued a 13-member Iranian crew from 15 suspected pirates who had been holding the crew hostage on the Iranian-flagged Al Molai for several weeks. Perhaps ironically, the USS Kidd is part of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, the vessel that Iran officials had warned to stay out of the Persian Gulf.
While Iran acknowledged the humanitarian effort by the U.S. in that incident, several Iranian news agencies accused the incident was blown up by the U.S. media as a form of propaganda.
Iran recently has been threating to block oil deliveries through the Strait of Hormuz if global powers imposed sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry.