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 May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

Shell CEO Backs Fossil Fuels, Climate Change Warnings

The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday.

Severe Flooding Cuts Off Lone Road to Alaska's Oilfield

Alaska's lone road to North Slope oil field operations remains closed for the third time in two months while emergency crews continue to redirect flooding from an adjacent river,

Pipeline Spill Could Hamper California Oil Projects

Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state,

Coast Guard

2 Americans Rescued North of Cuba

A Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter crew rescued two American sailors whose vessel ran aground approximately 25 miles north of Gibara, Cuba, Friday. Watchstanders

Yemen-bound Aid Ship Docks in Djibouti

An Iranian ship carrying humanitarian aid for war-ravaged Yemenis has arrived in Djibouti. It will be inspected by the United Nations so its cargo can be shipped to conflict-torn Yemen.

US Oil Platform on Fire in Gulf Of Mexico

An oil platform caught fire and was evacuated in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore Louisiana in the early hours of Friday, though no injuries were reported, the U.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.3851 sec (3 req/sec)