– Guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) provided assistance to a 21-meter Iraqi fishing dhow that suffered a steering casualty and had been adrift for three days, Oct. 22.
Port Royal was contacted by radio in the early afternoon of Oct. 22 by five fishermen on board the dhow.
“The opportunity to offer aid to local people with immediate and pressing needs brought a great personal satisfaction to all involved,” said Port Royal’s Auxiliaries Officer, Lt. j.g. Jared Shrader, the Officer of the Deck at the time. “Everyone was eager to play a part in rendering whatever assistance was necessary.”
Port Royal’s visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team deployed to assess and render assistance. They delivered food and water to the five Iraqi mariners, and provided the services of three engineering technicians and a medic.
Upon further investigation of the steering casualty, Engineman Fireman Brayton Hartranft, Engineman 2nd Class Dennis Zaragoza, and Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Jared Volavka determined that in-water repair would not be possible. While the engineers evaluated the steering casualty, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William Triplett, Port Royal’s Independent Duty Corpsman, provided medical treatment to two crew members.
Port Royal immediately coordinated with the appropriate authorities and received permission to tow the vessel closer to Iraqi territorial waters, where it was assisted the next day by the Kuwait Coast Guard.
“In this particular case, we came to the assistance of fishermen who were very thankful for our assistance that day,” said Port Royal’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Eric F. Weilenman. “We’re happy we could help and I think our crew was reminded of just how quickly an ‘average’ day at sea can turn into a life changing moment.”
Port Royal is conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.