USS Preble (DDG 88) rendered aid to a stranded Iranian fishing vessel, Dec. 16 at approximately 1:00 p.m. local time while transiting the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
An MH-60R Sea Hawk assigned to the Easyriders of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, currently embarked with Preble, was conducting routine flight operations in the vicinity when they spotted the Iranian vessel approximately 60 nautical miles from the nearest land.
“The distressed mariners were seen waving their hands over their head in an effort to get the attention of our pilots,” said Leonardo Giovannelli, Preble’s executive officer. “The Iranian vessel was determined to be a cargo dhow transporting livestock, and was stranded with no communication capabilities.”
Cmdr. Allen Maxwell Jr., the commanding officer of Preble, ordered the dispatch of a rescue and assistance team. The crew manned a fire fighting and dewatering team, engineering team, and visit, board, search and seizure team.
“Our crew instantly shifted from underway operations to mariner assistance, and it was great to see that kind of readiness in action,” said Maxwell. “Due to extensive training, we were able to respond quickly and effectively to the situation and were ready to assist in any way needed.”
Once Preble was on scene, it was determined that the seas were too rough to allow for safe boarding of the distressed vessel. Preble communicated their intentions to stay with the vessel overnight and kept watch to ensure it was safe until a local rescue ship arrived on scene.
“Even though we were unable to board the ship due to unsafe conditions, I am extremely proud our officers and crew,” said Maxwell. “We were able to ensure their safety until assistance arrived. This is truly an example of the U.S. Navy’s commitment to the safety of waters anywhere in the world, not just our own back yard.”
Preble is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 9, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sampson (DDG 102).
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) deployment is an example of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in waters around the globe, displaying commitment to stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations.
Preble departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a regularly scheduled deployment, Oct. 16, to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.