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Rescue team from Bataan pulls Turkish mariners from damaged ship

A U.S. Navy search-and-rescue team from an amphibious ship in the Aegean Sea pulled two Turkish mariners from their damaged vessel on Saturday.

The USS Bataan received a distress call from the Turkish-flagged container vessel Yusuf Cepnioglu at 10:29 a.m., according to a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. The vessel had run aground hours earlier on the northern coast of Mykonos and was listing badly as flooding worsened, according to a news release from Greece’s coast guard, which initially responded to the call.

Photographs of the ship show its stern partially submerged near a rocky shore, with some of its containers toppled.

Coast guard rescuers and a private boat pulled 12 of the ship’s 14 crewmembers to safety. The Navy search-and-rescue team, aboard an MH-60 helicopter, lowered a rescue swimmer to pull to safety the last two mariners, the ship’s master and chief mate.

Both were returned to the Bataan, where they received medical checks before being handed over to the coast guard. The mariners pulled from the ship were at risk of hypothermia, the coast guard said.

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group departed Norfolk, Va., in early February for an eight-month deployment to European and Middle Eastern waters. The group, which includes 2,400 embarked Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is exercising with European armed forces while in the Mediterranean.

The other ships in the group are the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall.

beardsley.steven@stripes.com
Twitter: @sjbeardsley

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