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Navy Ship Rescues Fishermen From Pirates In Northern Arabian Sea

The crew of a San Diego-based Navy ship rescued 13 Iranian fishermen and took 15 suspected pirates into custody in the Northern Arabian Sea, the U.S. Central Command and Fifth Fleet announced today.

On Thursday, airmen aboard a SH-60S Seahawk helicopter from the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd spotted a suspected pirate boat next to the fishing boat Al Molai and, at the same time, received a distress call from the skipper of the vessel, according to the Navy.

The pirates surrendered peacefully when a boarding team from the Kidd landed on the Al Molai.

The Navy said the pirates used the vessel as a "mother ship'' for as many as 45 days and the Iranians complained of harsh treatment.

"They were held hostage, with limited rations, and we believe were forced against their will to assist the pirates with other piracy operations,'' said Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent aboard the Kidd, which is operating as part of the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis Strike Group.

The Navy said the fishermen were given food and medical care. The pirates were kept on the Al Molai overnight and transferred to the Stennis today.

The Kidd has been deployed for about five months.

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