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U.S. Navy Warships Rush To The Rescue Around Arabian Peninsula

October 5, 1991

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ The U.S. Navy rescued two fishing boats and helped an injured merchant seaman - in the gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Red Sea - on a single day, the naval command said Saturday.

Rear Adm. Raynor A. K. Taylor said all of the rescues took place on Friday.

The first was carried out by the USNS Sioux, a military sealift command vessel in the northern Persian Gulf. Winds were blowing at 40 knots and the seas were running 4 to 6 feet, said Chief Jim Richeson of the command’s public relations office.

″The two crewmen of the boat, who were Iranian fishermen, were experiencing great difficulty in keeping their small fishing boat afloat in the heavy seas and they requested to come aboard Sioux and rest until conditions abated,″ Richeson said.

So the fishing boat was loaded onto the Sioux and the fishermen spent the night aboard until the winds calmed on Saturday morning.

Near the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic gateway to the gulf about 620 miles south, the guided missile cruiser USS Arkansas encountered an Indian fishing dhow floating dead in the water. The crew waving rags and clothing to signal for help, Richeson said.

It had been disabled for seven days after the engine broke down while sailing from Bombay, India, to the southern Gulf port of Dubai with onions.

The Arkansas gave the crew members water and took the wooden-hulled ship under tow toward Dubai, where the United Arab Emirates coast guard took over.

Early Friday evening, on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula in the Red Sea, the frigate USS Aubrey Fitch learned that the first mate of the merchant ship Esso Hawaii fell in a cargo hold, breaking a hip and an arm. It sent a helicopter to fly him to a hospital in Saudi Arabia.

The Esso Hawaii is a Bahamas-registered tanker and the crewman was a British national.

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