Navy personnel from the coastal patrol ship Sirocco and expeditionary mobile base platform ship Lewis B. Puller assisted in rescuing five mariners in the Gulf of Oman Wednesday, the Navy said.
The mariners, who claimed to be citizens of Iran, were smuggling illicit drugs when their ship caught fire, resulting in an explosion.
The Sirocco, homeported in Bahrain, was conducting a counter-narcotics patrol when sailors spotted the mariners in distress and jumped into action to provide assistance, the Navy said.
The mariners were transferred to the Lewis B. Puller before two were flown to Oman via helicopter for medical treatment. The other three were later taken to Oman for repatriation. The Navy said one mariner remains missing.
The Sirocco ultimately seized approximately $14.7 million worth of hashish, methamphetamine and heroin from the vessel, which international maritime forces suspected was carrying illicit drugs.
Just last month, the Navy’s dry cargo ship Charles Drew also helped rescue two Iranian mariners in the Gulf of Oman. The mariners had been lost at sea for a week in a small open boat, and the Charles Drew rescued them and provided them with food, water and medical care.
“As professional mariners, we have a responsibility to help people in need at sea,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the head of Combined Maritime Forces, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet, said in a statement in November.