U.S., coalition ships aid mariners in trouble
November 16, 2006
U.S. and coalition ships helped civilian mariners in two recent incidents in the waters of the Middle East, officials stated in news releases.
Three Iraqi civilian mariners were rescued Nov. 9 when their skiff sank in the Persian Gulf near the Khawr Al Amaya oil terminal, according to a 5th Fleet press release.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Baranof recovered the three crewmembers. Navies that make up Task Force 158 searched for a fourth civilian mariner, but to no avail. The search was called off late that evening and was not resumed, a 5th Fleet spokesman said Wednesday. It is unclear what caused the skiff to sink.
The rescue mission “was a well coordinated effort by both the [task force] staff and the numerous units that took part … ,” Capt. William Henderson, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s assistant chief of staff for operations, said in a statement. “The hard work and diligence of these units enabled us to save the lives of three of the skiff’s crew members who otherwise would’ve certainly perished at sea.”
In a separate incident Friday, the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio helped a distressed crew aboard an Iranian dhow. The crew radioed for help while in the Arabian Sea, about 140 miles off the coast of Pakistan, a Navy release stated. The crew of 24 civilian mariners aboard the motor vessel SINAA, a 35-meter Iranian-flagged dhow from Kubala, asked for water and fuel from the Anzio.
In broken English, the dhow crew radioed: “‘Navy ship, navy ship, can you help. Water. No English,’” according to Ensign Scott Szurovy, the junior officer of the deck.
The Anzio provided the crew with 75 bottles of water, 236 gallons of fuel and two days’ worth of food, the release stated. The ship is part of the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which left its home port of Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 3 for a roughly six-month deployment. It has been in the Middle East since Oct. 30.