The U.S. Navy has rescued 10 sailors who claim to be Iranians from a burning ship in the Gulf of Oman. The sailors have received medical care and are awaiting entry back into Iran.
The rescue was carried out on Wednesday by the U.S. destroyer U.S.S. James E. Williams, with additional medical treatment administered on a nearby U.S. aircraft carrier.
The men were forced to abandon their burning ship in the Gulf waters, Lt. Greg Raelson, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, told media outlets including NBC News.
"U.S. Navy ships aid mariners in distress regardless of nationality," Raelson told NBC. "Responding to the needs of fellow mariners is part of our ethos."
The Navy distributed a photo of the burning ship, which was reportedly flying an Iranian flag. The boat was said to be made of wood.
The Navy has rescued 13 Iranian sailors in January 2011 who were being held hostage by Somali pirates. Several incidents in the Gulf of Oman have required U.S. assistance, reported both NBC and National Public Radio. The Washington Post reported there have been seven such incidents in the past two years alone.
Iranian officials have said they would close the Gulf of Oman waterway in retaliation for sanctions involving its nuclear program. The waterway is considered a highly valued route for U.S. ships.
by RTT Staff Writer
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