In the middle of a tense standoff between Iran and the United States, the crew of an American destroyer patrolling the North Arabian Sea rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who had been taken hostage by Somali pirates more than a month ago, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
In a conference call with reporters, Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller, the commander of an American carrier strike group that was threatened by Iran’s navy on Tuesday, explained that the U.S.S. Kidd, an American destroyer, intercepted the Iranian-flagged Al Mulahi on Thursday after receiving a distress call. After a show of force from the destroyer, fifteen pirates on board were convinced to lay down their weapons and surrender to a boarding party from the Kidd.
Our colleagues C.J. Chivers, who is reporting on the carrier group’s work, was taken on board the fishing boat after the pirates surrendered. His complete report on the rescue will be published soon, but he sent us a note saying that the Iranians “greeted the American sailors with wide-eyed relief.”
“It is like you were sent by God,” said one of the rescued fishermen, Fazel Ur Rehman, 28, huddled under a blanket in this vessel’s stern as sailors from the Kidd’s boarding team watched over the deflated pirates on the deck of the pitching bow. “Every night we prayed for God to rescue us. And now you are here.”
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment