ARABIAN SEA - The San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) rendered aid to the crew of a sinking Iranian fishing dhow in the central Arabian Sea, Jan. 18.
At 7:53 a.m. local time, an MH-60R Seahawk from the "Raptors" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 spotted the disabled fishing vessel, Al Mamsoor, with one person on board. The vessel was tethered to one of two other dhows nearby.
"Our first priority was to make sure that all the crew (of the fishing vessel) was safe," said Lt. Will Jourdan, pilot of the helicopter. "After we identified the vessel and reported it to back to the ship, we remained on scene."
Dewey travelled to Al Mamsoor quickly to assist the Iranian fishermen who had fled the sinking dhow and boarded the other dhows.
The destroyer's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team was sent to communicate with the displaced crew members and determine their needs.
"Once we talked with their captain, it was clear that they needed food and water," said Lt. j.g. Jason Dawson, the VBSS team leader.
For more than two hours, the VBSS team provided food, water, medical and hygienic supplies, and confirmed that the dhow's crews did not need additional fuel.
While rendering aid, they learned that the Al Mamsoor crew fought flooding for three days before finally abandoning their vessel.
After ensuring the safety of the crew and providing approximately 150 pounds of supplies, the VBSS team departed the scene and returned to Dewey.
"I'm very proud of my team," said Dawson. "The crew of the dhow knew that we were there to help, and we did."
Dewey, part of Destroyer Squadron 21, is conducting maritime security operations while on a scheduled deployment with the John C. Stennis Strike Group.
The commander of the strike group, Rear Adm. Craig Faller, commented on Dewey's assistance to the Iranian mariners. "I am extremely proud of our John C. Stennis Strike Group Sailors for demonstrating once again their readiness to render life-saving assistance at sea."