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USNS Yukon Aids Distressed Mariners in Arabian Sea

By U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs | August 08, 2020

The Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) provided assistance to a motor vessel in distress in the Arabian Sea Aug. 7.

Upon notification of the situation, the Combined Maritime Forces watch center contacted Yukon to assist the motor vessel Wadi Karan due to its close proximity.

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

After assessing the situation, the Yukon crew provided food and water, and remained on station until Omani naval forces were able to arrive and render further assistance.

The Yukon crew strictly adhered to coronavirus (COVID-19) mitigations of social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in order to prevent the transmission between crews.

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

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

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

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.