USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) located and provided assistance to two Iranian mariners who were spotted floating in a life raft in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 18.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) contacted Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) at approximately 3:30 a.m. (Bahrain) after it had been notified by a merchant vessel that they had seen a flare launched from a life raft. CMF notified Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 which then dispatched Oscar Austin to locate the vessel.
Oscar Austin located the life raft around 5 a.m., approximately 1,000 yards outside of Iranian territorial waters. After providing the two distressed mariners food and water, a rigid hulled inflatable boat from Oscar Austin towed the life raft closer to the ship in the event the men required any urgent aid or further assistance.
CMF contacted the Omani Navy and asked them to assist in communicating the location of the life raft to the Iranian Coast Guard.
According to the two men, their dhow sank the night before, and they did not know the disposition of any other crew members.
Oscar Austin remained on scene until 12:30 p.m., when the mariners were picked up by an Iranian Coast Guard search and rescue vessel.
“The response and assistance provided are excellent examples of the training and coordination between members of CTF 152,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Ansuinni, CTF 152’s future operations officer. “We’re glad that we were able to coordinate the rescue of the mariners with the Iranian Coast Guard.”
The Iranian Coast Guard crew thanked Oscar Austin for their assistance and departed the area.