Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prasied U.S. Navy sailors who rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who were being held by pirates. The captain of the Iranian vessel, Al Molai, was able to send a radio distress signal which was received by the nearby U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis. Upon receiving the radio call the escorting cruiser Mobile Bay was sent to give assistance.
The Navy said a boarding team from the destroyer USS Kidd boarded the Al Molai and detained 15 pirates who were holding the Iranians hostage. The pirates didn’t resist and surrendered quickly in the rescue, according to the Navy statement. The fishermen received food and medical care and were then sent home.
“It makes it very clear to them that, despite how much they often try to provoke us, the United States in this kind of situation is going to respond as we should in a very humanitarian and responsible way,” Panetta said regarding the recent threats from the Tehran to shut down oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. There has been no response from the Iranian government.