A U.S. Navy destroyer has rescued 10 sailors from an Iranian-flagged vessel that was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.
The guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams came upon the Iranian-flagged dhow as it was on fire Wednesday night. The 10 on board were picked up out of the water by the crew of the destroyer.
A Defense official says eight of the 10 are Iranian; the other two are Pakistanis.
According to a Navy press release the crew members “are being well cared for, receiving medical treatment and awaiting transport to aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.”
Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, said they will be transported Thursday morning to the Enterprise and will be repatriated from there. ”Our intent is to take care of them and send them [home],” said Salata.
With its ships constantly deployed to the waters of the Middle East, it’s not uncommon for U.S. Navy ships to rescue mariners in distress whatever their nationality.
The Navy’s rescue of 13 Iranian mariners in January made international headlines because it occurred shortly after an Iranian general had warned the U.S. Navy not to send an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf.
The destroyer USS Kidd had rescued the Iranian mariners from their fishing boat, which had been hijacked by Somali pirates for more than a month and converted into a pirate mother ship. 15 Somali pirates were taken into custody and the grateful Iranian crew was repatriated to Iran.