US Navy rescues two Iranians adrift in Gulf for eight days

MANAMA: The US Navy has rescued two Iranian seamen who had been adrift for eight days on a fishing boat in Gulf waters, a statement said on Sunday.

The men were in “good health and spirits” despite their ordeal, the navy said.

“A US Navy vessel rescued two Iranian mariners (on Saturday) from a fishing vessel after it was adrift for eight days in the Gulf of Oman,” the US Naval Forces Central Command, or NAVCENT, said.

Navy cargo ship Charles Drew arrived at the scene with food, water and medical care six hours after a distress call from the mariners, the statement said.

The two men were transported to an Omani coastguard vessel near the capital Muscat. “The mariners were in good health and spirits at the time of the transfer,” it added.

“We appreciate the government of Oman for its assistance and support in helping us return the mariners home,” NAVCENT commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said in the statement.

The United States and its regional allies share concerns about Iran, which has previously been accused of orchestrating attacks on shipping in the region.

Tehran rejects the allegations.

Since February, Iran and its arch-enemy Israel have been accused of engaging in what analysts have called a “shadow war”, in which vessels linked to each nation have come under attack in tit-for-tat exchanges in waters around the Gulf.

Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain held their first joint naval exercise with Israel, together with the US, a year after normalising ties with the Jewish state.–AFP

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