ALCSG Assists Distressed Iranian Mariners
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG) assets responded to a distressed Iranian fishing dhow in the Arabian Gulf, Jan. 31.
At 12:37 p.m. local time, an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and embarked on aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), spotted the disabled Iranian fishing dhow M/V Sohaila with nine crew members aboard.
Sohaila’s master issued a distress call reporting that his crew was in good condition, but the dhow’s engine had overheated, preventing it from operating at sea.
Guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), operating nearby, responded, offering assistance to the Iranian fishermen who were waving a cloth as a signal for help.
The dhow’s master permitted the destroyer’s visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team to board allowing the team better determine the nature and extent of the boat’s engine problems.
John Paul Jones engineers repaired the fan belt in the dhow’s engine and assessed it had a foul propeller.
Navy divers assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1131, embarked aboard aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), were flown using one of Abraham Lincoln’s helicopters to John Paul Jones and then, sent by rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to the dhow.
“We have the capability and training to handle these jobs when they come up and we’re just happy to assist whenever we get the call,” said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Senior Chief Michael J. Negri. “The best part of the day was when they finally started up their engines and were able to get underway again.”
After ensuring the dhow was operational, and the crew was safe with sufficient amounts of food, water and fuel to continue its transit, the VBSS and EODMU teams departed the scene and returned to their ships.
Rear Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, ALCSG, said the U.S. Navy has a longstanding tradition of coming to the aid of mariners in distress and conducting search and rescue operations at sea.
“This is one of the reasons our Navy exists,” Shoemaker said. “We preserve freedom of navigation and the unimpeded flow of commerce on the high seas. But anytime we come across a vessel in need of engineering or medical assistance, our Sailors are ready to assist with their expertise – in this case engineers and divers.”
ALCSG, comprised of Abraham Lincoln, Carrier Air Wing 2, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and guided-missile destroyers, USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104), are supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
World Maritime News Staff, February 1, 2012; Image: Navy