WASHINGTON — Ten U.S. Navy sailors who were traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain yesterday when contact was lost with their pair of small craft are back in U.S. hands.
“I’m very pleased that our Sailors have been safely returned to U.S. hands.,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “I want to express my gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter. That this issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure, and strong.”
“I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement today. “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
A U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release said the sailors departed Farsi Island shortly before 4 a.m. EST aboard the two riverine command boats they had been operating when they lost contact with the U.S. Navy. The sailors later were transferred ashore by U.S. Navy aircraft, the news release said, and other sailors took charge of boats and continued transiting toward Bahrain.