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US Navy ship rescues Iranian fishermen

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, Mar 2 (Reuters) A US Navy warship helped rescue the six crewmen of an Iranian commercial boat in the Gulf after the small craft had been adrift without power for 10 days, according to the Navy.

The rescue at sea came when tensions remain high between Tehran and Western nations over what Washington charges are attempts by Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

The Navy said the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez, deployed in the Gulf in support of joint maritime security operations with other Western warships, spotted the small Iranian dhow on Tuesday and rescued its crewmen after they had been adrift for 10 days.

US 5th Fleet headquarters, based in Bahrain, said in a statement the Iranians explained that their boat's engine and rudder had failed.

''Patrolling warships are sometimes called on for humanitarian interventions,'' said Cmdr. Robert Randall, the US ship's commanding officer. ''It felt good to assist.'' A boarding party from the Gonzalez gave the Iranian crew food and water, the Navy said. The US sailors also inspected the dhow's cargo and engineering plant and determined the engine was beyond repair, the Navy said.

The vessel contacted Iranian officials, who picked up the crew of the craft, the Navy said.

REUTERS DH RAI0450

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