USNS Yukon Renders Aid to Stranded Mariners on the Arabian Sea

The Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler, the USNS Yukon (T-AO 202), rescued a stranded motor vessel, the Wadi Karan, in the Arabian Sea after that crew had been near death without food or water.

Upon receiving an alert, the Combined Maritime Forces watch center contacted the Yukon, which was nearby and confirmed the crew was able to assist the motor vessel.

The Wadi Karan had experienced engine failure 10 days earlier and its crew had run out of food and water.

The Yukon assessed the situation and immediately provided food and water and stayed on station until the Omani naval forces arrived and were able to provide additional assistance.

“The duty to help each other when in need is something that all mariners share, civilian and military alike. The sailors and civilian mariners aboard MSC ships are trained and ready to answer this call whenever possible,” said Navy Capt. Michael O’Driscoll, commander of Task Force (TF) 53.

The crew of the Yukon strictly adhered to social distancing and the wearing of face coverings to mitigate any potential of transmission of the coronavirus between the crews.

The obligation for all mariners to provide assistance like this to those in distress at sea is outlined in the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life Sea (SOLAS).

The U.S. 5th Fleet operates regularly with coalition forces and regional partners, maintaining maritime domain awareness necessary to facilitate aid such as this to mariners in distress.

The area of operations for the U.S. 5th Fleet covers a huge area, approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area. This includes the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

This broad area encompasses 20 countries. Three choke critical choke points in this area are the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb located at the southern tip of Yemen.

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