News / Middle East

US Rescues Iranians Held Hostage by Pirates

The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call from the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Molai, which was being held captive by pirates in the Arabian Sea, January 5, 2012.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call from the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Molai, which was being held captive by pirates in the Arabian Sea, January 5, 2012.

A U.S. Navy ship has rescued 13 Iranians being held hostage by pirates in the Arabian Sea, days after Iran warned U.S. vessels not to return to the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. Navy announced Friday that it detected the pirates' skiff alongside the Iranian fishing vessel, the Al Molai, on Thursday after receiving a distress call from the Iranian ship. The Navy said a team of military personnel from the destroyer USS Kidd boarded the Iranian vessel, or dhow, and detained 15 pirates who were holding the Iranians hostage.

The Navy said the Iranian vessel had been under the control of the pirates for more than a month and was being used as a headquarters for pirate operations. It said the hostages are believed to have been forced to help with piracies.

A U.S. Navy spokeswoman told VOA Friday that the U.S. naval team was aware before the rescue that the dhow was flying an Iranian flag.  Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich says vessels are "obligated" to assist any "distressed" sailors, regardless of nationality.

U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd greet a crew member of the Iranian fishing vessel, the Al Molai Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 in the Arabian Sea.
U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd greet a crew member of the Iranian fishing vessel, the Al Molai Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 in the Arabian Sea.

Rebarich said the head of the Iranian crew expressed his "sincere gratitude" to the U.S. Navy, saying he feared that without the U.S. assistance, his crew would have been held hostage for months.

The Navy said the Iranians were given food and medical care, and were released wearing USS Kidd embroidered hats. Navy officials say the sailors are now on their way home and most likely not aware of the recent tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Iran has recently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf, and warned the U.S. not to operate aircraft carriers in the area - something the U.S. routinely does. U.S. officials have made clear that operations will continue as usual in the Gulf.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday the U.S. has not communicated with Iran about the rescue that she called a "humanitarian gesture."

"The very same ship and set of vessels that the Iranians protested on its last voyage through Hormuz, the John C. Stennis carrier strike group, just rescued this Iranian dhow from pirates," said Nuland.

The pirates - believed to be Somalis - are in detention at sea on the U.S. aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid