The US Navy rescued 13 Iranian fisherman on a boat being held hostage by pirates for up to 45 days in the Arabian Sea, the Associated Press reported.
The rescue operation was performed Thursday by forces from the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group of the 5th Fleet, which guided the USS Kidd. The crew was warned by Iran this week not to pass back through the Strait of Hormuz, the AP reported. The boarding team detained 15 pirates aboard the fishing dhow, the Al Molai, according to a press release from the US Navy, Bloomberg reported.
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"When we boarded, we gave them food, water, and medical care," Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent aboard the Kidd, said in the statement, the AP reported.
The pirates didn’t resist and surrendered quickly in the rescue, the US Navy said, Bloomberg reported. An SH-60S helicopter from the Kidd spotted the boat suspected of being held captive by pirates at about 12:30 pm. At the same time a distress call was received from the master of the fishing boat saying they were being held hostage, Bloomberg reported.
The pirates were then detained on the fishing boat by the Kidd boarding party until the next morning when they were transferred to the aircraft carrier the USS John C. Stennis.
The Stennis’ movements in the Persian Gulf have been monitored and the subject of tensions between the United States and Iran in the last week, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“We usually don’t repeat our warning, and we warn only once,” Ataollah Salehi was cited as saying by the state-run Fars news agency, Bloomberg reported. “We recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf.”
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