Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World this Week - September 19th, 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World this Week - September 19th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coalition split on 'English votes for English laws'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French papers react to Sarkozy's TV return

Read more

WEB NEWS

Brazil's presidential election seen from the web

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ivory Coast launches the "Soap Bucket Challenge"

Read more

#TECH 24

Anonymous Vs ISIS

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria attack: Bomb blast in college in Kano

Read more

Middle east

US Navy rescues Iranian hostages from 'Somali pirates'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-06

The US Navy has rescued 13 Iranians held hostage for "several weeks" by suspected Somali pirates in the Arabian sea, the Pentagon said on Friday.

AFP - A US Navy ship has rescued 13 Iranians held hostage by Somali pirates for weeks in the Arabian Sea, the American military said on Friday.

The rescue effort came despite days of rising tensions between Iran and the United States, with Tehran issuing threats and warning America not to send the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

But one of the ships accompanying the Stennis, the USS Kidd, came to the aid Thursday of Iranians on the fishing dhow Al Molai, whose captain issued a call for help saying "he was being held captive by the pirates."

The American destroyer responded to the distress call from the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel and sent in a Navy team to free the Iranian crew, the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said.

"A visit, board, search and seizure team from Kidd boarded the Al Molai and detained 15 suspected pirates who had been holding a 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks," the statement said.

"The Al Molai had been pirated and used as a 'mother ship' for pirate operations throughout the Persian Gulf, according to members of the Iranian vessel's crew," it added.

The detained pirates -- believed to be Somalis -- were being held on the Stennis, said a Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby.

"The Iranians and the dhow have been released and are on their way back home," Kirby told AFP.

Prior to Thursday's rescue, another Iranian vessel, a motor boat, had issued a distress call while under suspected attack from pirates.

A helicopter from the USS Mobile Bay, another naval ship assigned to the Stennis carrier group, responded to the call for help, Kirby said.

But the pirates threw objects into the water and "they boarded the skiff and couldn't detain the pirates because there was no evidence," he added.

The US and other navies frequently respond to distress calls sparked by pirate attacks in the region, but Thursday's incident took on special significance after a string of bellicose statements from Tehran over the Gulf.

With the West piling pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program and the EU threatening a total ban on Iranian oil imports, Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- which links the Gulf to the Arabian Sea and through which 20 percent of the world's sea-transported oil flows.

The US Navy has said it will not tolerate any such move.

Date created : 2012-01-06

  • IRAN

    EU, US reach preliminary deal on Iranian oil embargo

    Read more

  • Iran

    Iran successfully test-fires three missiles in Gulf

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama signs bill imposing new financial sanctions on Iran

    Read more

COMMENT(S)