Pakistani Fisherman Safe After Help from New Zealand, Iran and U.S. Navy

By Fifth Fleet PA

MANAMA, Bahrain – Pakistani fishermen adrift in the Gulf of Oman near Iranian territorial waters were rescued by the Iranian Coast Guard today after receiving assistance from the New Zealand Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

The stranded dhow, Al Kaseem, and its crew of three were spotted by a passing Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K maritime patrol aircraft of RNZAF’s 5 Squadron, then on a routine patrol flight over the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The P-3’s crew contacted the nearest coalition maritime vessel in the area, USS Higgins (DDG 76), also on routine patrol in support of OEF. After trying to reach the dhow’s crew by radio, the Higgins’s crew dispatched a security and rescue assistance team via small boat.

The Higgins assistance team learned from the master of Al Kaseem that its crew of three had been adrift without food and water for three days near Iranian territorial waters. After providing Al Kaseem’s crew with enough food for five days, Higgins crew members attempted to repair the dhow’s ailing engine, but was unsuccessful.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet then contacted the Maritime Emergency Mutual Assistance Center (MEMAC) to relay the dhow’s position and coordinated the towing operation. The Iranian Coast Guard responded to MEMAC’s request for assistance and proceeded toward the Iranian port of Jask with the Al Kaseem successfully in tow and its crew safely aboard.