US destroyer assists stranded Iranian vessel

Illustration: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter prepares to land aboard USS Preble. Photo: US Navy

US Navy destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) assisted an Iranian vessel in the Persian Gulf, stranded 60 nautical miles from nearest land with no communication capabilities. 

An MH-60R Sea Hawk embarked with Preble was conducting routine flight operations on December 16 when they spotted the Iranian vessel whose crew waved their hands to get the helicopter pilots’ attention.

Cmdr. Allen Maxwell Jr., the commanding officer of Preble, ordered the dispatch of a rescue and assistance team. The crew manned a fire fighting and dewatering team, engineering team, and visit, board, search and seizure team.

Once Preble was on scene, it was determined that the seas were too rough to allow for safe boarding of the distressed vessel, which was determined to be a cargo dhow transporting livestock. Preble communicated their intentions to stay with the vessel overnight and kept watch to ensure it was safe until a local rescue ship arrived on scene.

“Even though we were unable to board the ship due to unsafe conditions, I am extremely proud our officers and crew,” said Maxwell. “We were able to ensure their safety until assistance arrived. This is truly an example of the US Navy’s commitment to the safety of waters anywhere in the world, not just our own back yard.”

Preble is currently deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 9, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sampson (DDG 102).

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