The U.S. Coast Guard rescued six Iranian mariners at the northern end of the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, the Pentagon said, according to CNN.
The incident took place around 50 miles southeast of the Iraqi port of Um Qasr. The Coast Guard cutter Monomoy reported the rescue took place after the Iranians’ small merchant vessel, the Ya-Hussan, apparently flooded.
The cutter responded to flares and flashlights from the vessels in distress, and the six Iranians were taken on board. One was treated for non-serious injuries, CNN reported. The six were reportedly given water, blankets and food.
“Saving lives is the last thing you expect to do at 0300 while patrolling in the Northern Arabian Gulf, but being in the Coast Guard, that’s what we are trained to do,” Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Emily Poole, Monomoy's medic, was quoted by CNN as having said.
The Pentagon quoted Hakim Hamid-Awi, the owner of the Ya-Hassan, as saying, “Without your help, we were dead. Thank you for all that you did for us.”
The incident marks the second time in less than a week that Americans save Iranians.
Last week, the U.S. Navy rescued 13 Iranian fishermen being held by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.
An SH-60S Seahawk from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd detected the pirates while a simultaneous distress call was received from the Al Molai fishing vessel.
A team from the Kidd subsequently boarded the ship and detained 15 suspected pirates who had been holding a 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry later thanked the United States for saving the 13 men.