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US Navy rescues 10 Iranians from vessel burning in Gulf of Oman

U.S. Navy

A dhow flying an Iranian flag is seen burning in the Gulf of Oman. The USS James E. Williams assisted 10 Iranian mariners who had to abandon their burning vessel.

The U.S. Navy is taking care of 10 mariners it rescued from a burning Iranian-flagged dhow in the Gulf of Oman, officials say.

The 10, all claiming to be Iranian, were rescued Wednesday by the USS James E. Williams guided-missile destroyer, Lt. Greg Raelson, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, told NBC News.

The 10 received initial medical treatment on the destroyer for injuries sustained in the fire and additional treatment on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise before being returned to the Williams, where Thursday they were awaiting repatriation, Raelson said. Details of the injuries were not available.

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Wednesday's rescue is at least the seventh involving Iranian sailors in nearly two years, The Associated Press reported. The gulf is a strategic waterway the Iranian government has threatened to close in retaliation for sanctions over its nuclear program.

“U.S. Navy ships aid mariners in distress regardless of nationality,” Raelson told NBC News. “Responding to the needs of fellow mariners is part of our ethos.”

The James E. Williams is deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet.

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