Coast Guard Rescues Iranian Mariners

by Frank Iannazzo-Simmons and USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class Walter Shinn
Friday, October 25, 2013
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maui, originally homeported in Miami, Fla., is a Coast Guard patrol boat assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Peter Lang.

While operating in the northern waters of the Gulf, a small vessel capsized in a remote area leaving five Iranian mariners stranded with no one to rescue them. This was the scenario these men faced prior to their chance discovery by the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maui.

Rescue did not come to their aid until this 110-foot Coast Guard cutter happened to come across the mariners whose lives were saved by the quick-thinking Coast Guard crew. The crew, who had trained intensely for such a situation, swiftly moved into action in the early morning hours of October 11, while assigned to Combined Task Force 152.

As the sun rose over the horizon, Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Sweetman spotted a faint orange object floating in the distance. Once Sweetman reported the object, Maui’s crew altered course to investigate. As Maui approached the object, Sweetman was able to identify a man waving an orange flag.

“I waited a few seconds after realizing it was a man waving a flag,” said Sweetman. “I had to be positive on what I was seeing before passing the information to the bridge.”

Shortly after the bridge team was notified of the sighting, an announcement was heard around the ship. The crew of Maui stepped into action relying on everything they had learned to this point in their careers.

“It seemed like a blur, we knew what we had to do and without hesitation our training kicked in as if it was instinct,” said Seaman CJ Garza.

As Maui navigated closer to the person in the water, Sweetman was able to identify four more mariners lying in the raft. The crew rescued the five Iranian mariners from the life raft within minutes after they arrived on scene.

One of the survivors informed the Maui on-scene leader that their Iranian dhow had capsized and they had been adrift.

With the five Iranian mariners safely aboard, the crew’s focus shifted to providing medical treatment. Once all the survivors were provided initial first aid they were given food, water, blankets and clothing.

“I am very proud of my crew for the judgment they used and actions they took throughout the situation,” said Lt. Earl Potter, commanding officer of Maui. “I think we were extremely fortunate to find these five men. They were all visibly weakened and suffering from extreme exposure when we got them aboard. I don’t know how much longer they would have lasted.”

Commander, Task Force 55 made initial arrangements for the mariners to be transferred to the Iranian Coast Guard ship Naji 7. That evening Maui contacted the Naji 7 to work out the details of the transfer of the mariners.

“It was quite a day, including working with the Iranians to conduct a nighttime small-boat transfer,” said Potter. “This case clearly demonstrates how flexible the Coast Guard is and another way we add value in this region.”

“From the moment we arrived to the moment we transferred them to the Iranian coast guard vessel, the five mariners expressed their gratitude and relief that we were able to help them,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Delacruz.

“While I did spot the raft, it took each and every one of us working as a team to recover and provide treatment to ensure that the stranded mariners would survive the situation they were in,” said Sweetman.

The Bahrain-based cutter and crew are currently assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia and actively participate with CTF-152.

CTF-152 is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces. The partnership with the task force defines the service in being nationally deployed and globally connected bringing military expertise and response capability anywhere America’s maritime interests extend. In the case of the rescue of these five Iranians, the maritime interests extended to saving lives at sea.

Written for the Coast Guard Compass, the official blog of the United States Coast Guard - coastguard.dodlive.mil

  • Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maui rescue five Iranian mariners after they were found adrift in a life raft. U.S. Navy video capture.

    Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maui rescue five Iranian mariners after they were found adrift in a life raft. U.S. Navy video capture.

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Casualties

Concordia Tow Update: Smooth Sailing

The Costa Concordia wreck removal team reported this morning at 10:30 a.m. that after 22 hours of navigation, the convoy was over 50 miles off Giglio Island with about 140 miles from Genoa Prà-Voltri.

Concordia Expected to Reach Genoa Saturday

The Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary TITAN Salvage and partner Micoperi have confirmed that the Costa Concordia – the Concordia class cruise ship that wrecked along shores of Giglio Island,

Concordia Finally Heads for Scrapyard

The rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia began its journey to the scrapyard on Wednesday, after a two-year salvage operation off the Italian island where the cruise liner capsized two years ago,

News

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Iraqi Kurdish Oil Nears US Port Despite Concern in Washington

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is just two days away from arriving at a U.S. port, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington's

Phillips 66 Marine Fueling Facility Nears Completion

Phillips 66’s previously announced marine over-the-water fueling facility at its Richmond, Calif. terminal is nearing completion. The facility, located on Canal Boulevard, and known as Pier No.

Coast Guard

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Bollinger to Build 6 More FRCs for the USCG

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Lockport, Louisiana, announced the award of six additional USCG Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). The U. S. Coast Guard

Alaska Welcomes USCG Admiral Papp Arctic Assignment

Alaska Senate Majority informs that it welcomes news that Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., the 24th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard since May 25, 2010, has been appointed by the U.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2670 sec (4 req/sec)